Canadian cable operator on probation

Shaw Communications license suspended for two years

TORONTO -- Stopping short of pulling its operating license, Canada's broadcast regulator has placed the country's second-largest cable operator on probation for two years for noncompliance of rules.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission renewed Calgary-based Shaw Communications' license for two years, rather than the standard seven, after it "consistently" breached rules on replacing U.S. network signals with Canadian ones as part of so-called simultaneous substitution rules.

The CRTC also fingered Shaw for airing too many TV commercials on its community channels, and failure to carry mandated domestic channels like the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network.

The regulator said the short-term renewal will allow it to closely monitor Shaw's future compliance with rules with monthly reports, not least how it simulcasts U.S. network signals.

Shaw said it has no comment on the CRTC decision.

Unlike the U.S. market where the FCC can find offending broadcasters, the CRTC can only revoke licenses as a sanction against noncompliance of regulatory rules.