The Canadian radio-television and telecommunications commission (CRTC) approved Rogers’ acquisition of Shaw’s broadcasting services, subject to a number of conditions and modifications.

“Given the nature of this transaction, we have put in place safeguards aimed at addressing potential risks to the broadcasting system for both consumers and programming services. Rogers must honor all existing contracts for Shaw customers. This adds to the safeguards already in place, which allow Canadians to subscribe to a basic television package and to select channels either individually or in small packages,” said Ian Scott, chairperson and CEO, CRTC.

It is worthy to note that as part of this transaction, Rogers is acquiring 16 cable services based in Western Canada, a national satellite television service, and other broadcast and television services. Thus, in order to approve this transaction, the CRTC had to ensure that the application is the best possible proposal and that the transaction serves the public interest, consistent with the overall objectives of the Broadcasting Act.

In line with this, the CRTC has required Rogers to pay five times more in benefits to the broadcasting system than it had originally proposed. Rogers will then contribute $27.2 million to various initiatives and funds, including those that support the production of content by indigenous producers and members of equity-seeking groups. Benefits will be directed to the Canada media fund, the independent local news fund, the broadcasting accessibility fund, and the broadcasting participation Fund, among others.

Rogers must also report annually on its commitments to increase its support for local news, by means of employing a higher number of journalists at its Citytv stations across the country and by producing an additional 48 news specials each year that reflect local communities.

Furthermore, the CRTC is imposing safeguards to ensure independent programming services are not placed at a disadvantage when negotiating with Rogers. Hence, Rogers must distribute at least 45 independent English and French-language services on each of its cable and satellite services.

The home telephone, wireless, and Internet services that Rogers is also seeking to acquire are not subject to the CRTC’s prior approval and are being reviewed by Canada’s competition bureau and innovation, science and economic development (ISED) department.