Canadian Cable TV Association Cuts Back

Ottawa -- It's downsizing time at the Canadian Cable
Television Association.

By the end of this month, the CCTA will see its budget cut
by one-third, seven of its 33 staffers laid off and its Toronto field office moved to
smaller premises.

The employees let go were largely staffers involved in a
CCTA subgroup known as

Established in 1996, was meant to help Canada's
MSOs develop nationally branded products and services, just as the "Stentor"
alliance of Canadian telephone companies aimed to do.

Tactically, had three immediate goals: to
prepare the cable-TV industry's arguments for the government's
telecommunications-deregulation hearings, to launch high-speed Internet access via cable
and to introduce a new package of English-language cable channels.

But three years later, the reasons for's
creation no longer exist: The telecommunications hearings are long over, and's
Internet-service branding, "Wave," was soon dropped by top MSOs Shaw
Communications Inc. and Rogers Cablesystems Ltd. as they signed up with Excite@Home. On
top of that, the new package of English-language cable channels was successfully launched.

All of this might not have killed if the Stentor
alliance -- which Canadian cable companies feared -- was still viable. But infighting
between two of Stentor's members -- Telus Corp. and Bell Canada International Inc. -- led
to an almost complete reduction of its scope.

With the phone companies having abandoned national
branding, there was little impetus for the country's cable-TV industry to do likewise. The
result: became redundant.

"The principal reason [for disbanding] is
that the need to spend the funds was diminished in the view of the members," said
interim CCTA president David Watt, who previously served as the trade group's senior vice
president of technology, economics and telecommunications. "I think everybody wants
to save money whenever they can."

Watts himself is being downsized out of a job, and he will
return to Rogers, where he worked before joining the CCTA.