cable 

By Alix Noble Despite local interest Canada’s all-news station, CBC Newsworld, is not likely to be seen on cable in Whistler in the near future. Monica Raisson, cable affiliate at Newsworld, says she has received many calls from people at Whistler who are concerned they can’t get Newsworld. "It's important because it's the only Canadian news service," she says. Ron Sapperstein, owner of Whistler Cable, said he would be willing to put Newsworld on cable, but not under CBC's conditions. Sapperstein said that he would carry Newsworld on optional, extended cable service. The catch, said Raisson, is that except in Quebec, Newsworld has a policy of only being on basic cable service. Two CNN channels are offered on extended cable in Whistler, as are other speciality channels such as Discovery and Much Music. The CNN channels together cost less than half of Newsworld, said Sapperstein. Newsworld is the most highly penetrating speciality channel in Canada, according to Raisson. Of 8 million cable homes in Canada, Newsworld is accessed by 7.4 million. Most cable companies are required to carry Newsworld. It's only very small companies like Whistler Cable that have the option to carry it. According to Harris Boyd, industry affairs representative at the Canadian Cable TV Association, Newsworld is the most expensive basic channel to carry. Newsworld charges cable companies 55-60 cents per cable subscriber, for 100 per cent of subscribers. Because basic cable is controlled by the CRTC, cable companies can only marginally mark up the price on basic services. "We can't afford it. We are not prepared to force that rate increase onto everyone for the sake of CBC Newsworld," said Sapperstein. Eighty per cent of cable subscribers at Whistler are on extended cable, so if Newsworld went on extended cable a fairly high proportion of subscribers would still be paying for it, said Raisson. Sapperstein noted that if there is a huge request for Newsworld in the future, he may have to add it, but noted that in a subscriber survey last year, he received only a 4 per cent response. Sapperstein is now looking into getting other Canadian news stations for Whistler Cable TV, including a CTV channel still pending CRTC approval. CBC Newsworld is accessible through CBC North on channel 14 in the mornings.

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