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Canadians lose in CRTC decision

March 22, 2010

News Releases

TORONTO, March 22 /CNW/ – After an exhaustive review of this issue and two previous decisions to reject the proposal, the CRTC has recommended a form of fee-for-carriage for over-the-air broadcasters which will increase cable rates and may result in programme blackouts.

“The CRTC today has essentially placed a tax on all cable and satellite customers,” said Phil Lind, Vice Chairman, Rogers Communications Inc. (RCI). “While the over-the-air broadcast sector has had financial challenges during a tough recession, the Commission has decided to penalize our customers and impose fees for services that are available free over-the-air for anyone with an antenna or on the Internet.”

While citing a form of negotiation for distributors and broadcasters which is found in the United States, the CRTC failed to recognize that the Canadian system is vastly different from the American one. Canadian regulators require the payment of hundreds of millions of dollars of subsidies from Canadian distributors for Canadian programming.

“Endorsing Broadcaster-mandated blackouts of American shows is a new low point for the Commission,” said Phil Lind. “In an age where consumers want to watch what they want when they want, the concept of denying content, which is available for free with an antenna or on the Internet, is so anti-consumer it’s unimaginable.”

“We need to look for ways to attract and retain Canadians on our broadcasting system in Canada. Driving customers from our platforms through blackouts and higher rates, does nothing in the end but hurt the entire system,” continued Phil Lind.

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Rogers Communications is a diversified Canadian communications and media company. We are Canada’s largest provider of wireless voice and data communications services and one of Canada’s leading providers of cable television, high-speed Internet and telephony services. Through Rogers Media we are engaged in radio and television broadcasting, televised shopping, magazines and trade publications, and sports entertainment. We are publicly traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX: RCI.A and RCI.B) and on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: RCI). For further information about the Rogers group of companies, please visit