TORONTO, July 6 /CNW/ - Phil Lind, Vice-Chairman of Rogers Communications
Inc., reacted to today's CRTC announcement, declaring that Canadian consumers
should be very worried about major new consumer TV taxes that could cost
Canadians an additional $50 - $100 per year depending on your cable package.
"The Commission has announced that beginning in September it will raise
the new local TV contribution (for a fund to subsidize local broadcasters in
small markets) to 1.5% of cable broadcast revenues. This will mean an increase
to our customers' bills of approximately $0.90 per month."
In a stunning policy reversal, the CRTC also announced that cable and
satellite companies will have to pay conventional over-the-air broadcasters a
fee to carry their local signals. These are signals that by law cable and
satellite companies must carry.
"In 2006 and again in 2008, after lengthy and detailed public procedures,
the Commission rejected broadcaster demands for a compensation-for-carriage
scheme in the form of a new consumer tax to fund conventional, over-the-air,
local television stations. Further, the Heritage Committee in its recent
report on the state of broadcasting in Canada made a number of important
recommendations and in spite of repeated pleadings by the Canadian
Broadcasters, did not endorse the concept of fee-for-carriage. In fact, the
Government Members of the Committee specifically rejected the proposal.
Today's CRTC announcement says that, not withstanding earlier rulings by the
CRTC and notwithstanding the lack of support by the Canadian Heritage
Committee, the CRTC is seeking to impose another new tax on consumers. The
only question outstanding is how much more consumers will have to pay to watch
the same television signals they watch today."
"Consumers already pay a CRTC-ordered 5% tax on cable and satellite
service to fund Canadian programming," Lind noted. "In the fall, they will now
be hit with another monthly CRTC-ordered contribution of 1.5% of cable
broadcast revenues to subsidize local news and information broadcast
programming. Today, the CRTC has announced a third tax which, if broadcasters
get their way, will add another $3 to $6 a month to cable bills, depending on
where people live.
We are profoundly concerned about how these new taxes will affect our
customers and the Canadian broadcasting system," Lind says, "and we intend to
fight them on behalf of Canadian consumers."
Rogers Communications is a diversified Canadian communications and media
company. Rogers is engaged in wireless voice and data communications services
through Rogers Wireless, Canada's largest wireless provider and the operator
of the country's only national GSM based network. Through Rogers Cable it is
Canada's leading provider of cable television services as well as high-speed
Internet access and competitive telephony services. Through Media, we are
engaged in radio and television broadcasting, televised shopping, magazines
and trade publications, and sports entertainment. Rogers is publicly traded on
the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX: RCI.A and RCI.B), and on the New York Stock
Exchange (NYSE: RCI).