TVNC’s APTN to go national on basic Sept. 1

Canada’s basic cable systems will have to make room for the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network by Sept. 1.

Based on hearings held last November, the crtc has approved an application submitted by tvnc to operate aptn and have it distributed nationally.

aptn is authorized to charge cable companies a maximum monthly fee of 15 cents per subscriber and will be distributed on basic on all cable systems with over 2,000 subscribers, as well as dth and mds systems.

How cablers will accommodate the ruling remains to be seen, but most will presumably have to bump a current basic service to make room for aptn.

Colette Watson, Rogers Cablesystems’ vp programming and pr, says Rogers is ‘examining its options,’ but would not elaborate on what those options are.

At the November hearings, Rogers, which has 2.2 million cable customers, was opposed to basic carriage of aptn.

Comments on the decision are to be filed by March 15.

In its decision, the commission said it was ‘convinced that all Canadians should have access to a national aboriginal television service which will offer programming with a high level of Canadian content that reflects the culture, history and concerns of Aboriginal peoples.’

Under the terms of its licence, aptn will devote 90% or more of both the broadcast week and the evening broadcast to Canadian programs. It will broadcast 120 hours of programming each week in English, French and up to 15 different aboriginal languages. Programming types will include children’s, educational, cultural and current affairs, drama, music, comedy, docs, talk shows, political coverage and special events.