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Canadian Satellite Hearings Progress

Canadian Satellite Hearings Progress

XM has clarified its role in Canadian Satellite Radio, a joint venture with Toronto businessman John Bitove to bring the XM service to Canada. XM Chairman Gary Parsons says XM is a minority shareholder limited to 30% ownership by Canadian law.
According to Parsons, CSI, not XM, is responsible for fundraising and building out its repeater network should the company be awarded a license by the Canadian government. Canada’s version of the FCC began hearings this week to hear from the three satellite radio applicants.
“GM and Honda of Canada supported us in hearings and indicated they’re ready to roll out product aggressively” if satellite radio is approved for that country, said Parsons, who did not want to predict how many subscribers it could add with Canadian expansion.
According to the Toronto Globe and Mail, early indications at the start of the hearings were that at least one commissioner was unhappy with the amount of Canadian-originated content planned.
The applicants besides XM are Sirius and CHUM, which is proposing a terrestrial-based services limited to 50 channels in large cities. Observers say Canada might approve all three applications, the two satellite and one terrestrial service.
That could pose problems for CHUM, which may not be viable if all three are approved, the newspaper quotes a CHUM executive as saying.