Post Tagged with: "broadcast"

Blurry Outlook for Canadian Digital TV Transition

Appeared in the Toronto Star on February 16, 2009 as Details of Transition to Digital TV a Little Blurry Starting this week, hundreds of U.S. television stations plan to shut down their analog broadcasts as they complete the transition to digital over-the-air broadcasts.  While the U.S. had planned for a […]

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February 16, 2009 Comments are Disabled Columns Archive

CRTC Considers Big Changes to Broadcast Rules, Telecom Privacy

The CRTC today released two consultation notices that could result in big changes to Canadian broadcasting and telecom privacy.  The broadcasting consultation proposes a major change to spending on Canadian English television productions, which has been flat compared to regular increases for spending on U.S. programming.  The CRTC puts forward […]

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February 13, 2009 4 comments News

Thinking Big About Flaherty Budget and Infrastructure Spending

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty will rise in the House of Commons next week to deliver the most anticipated federal budget in years.  The subject of town hall meetings, corporate consultations, and political sparring, the budget will be closely watched by all Canadians anxious for a long-term plan to address the current economic crisis. While financial support for hard hit industries are a given, one of the most important elements in the budget will be the significant expenditures on infrastructure, which is viewed as a powerful job creation mechanism with benefits that can last for decades.  

Money toward roads, bridges and other conventional infrastructure projects may generate some short-term employment, but my weekly technology law column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) argues that the opportunity to take a broader perspective on infrastructure should not be missed.  Indeed, this budget offers a rare chance to put critically important technology projects that have languished for years back on track.  These include:

Broadband infrastructure.  Following repeated failed attempts to implement a national broadband strategy that guarantees access to high-speed networks for all Canadians, the Flaherty budget provides the ideal opportunity to address this neglected issue.  Indeed, frustrated by years of federal inaction, several provinces recently pledged to support their own broadband initiatives, recognizing the economic importance of a connected population.  

With Canada gradually slipping down the global broadband rankings as other countries benefit from better, faster, and cheaper options, committing serious dollars to a national broadband infrastructure would create jobs and lay the groundwork for new commercial, cultural, and educational opportunities.

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January 19, 2009 6 comments Columns

Flaherty Budget Could Put Tech Back on Track

Appeared in the Toronto Star on January 19, 2009 as Flaherty Budget Could Put Tech Back on Track Finance Minister Jim Flaherty will rise in the House of Commons next week to deliver the most anticipated federal budget in years.  The subject of town hall meetings, corporate consultations, and political […]

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January 19, 2009 Comments are Disabled Columns Archive

CRTC Releases Broadcast Review Decision

The CRTC has released its much anticipated broadcast review decision.  The Commission:

  • rejects (again) the request from over-the-air broadcasters for a new fee-for-carriage payment (ie. payment for over-the-air signals).
  • establishes a new fund for local programming that will cost cable and satellite subscribers about 50 cents per month.  The new fund sparked two dissenting opinions.
  • concludes that time shifting (in this case carrying multiple versions of the same network) should be compensated and calls for negotiations to establish a price.
  • continues to move toward greater deregulation by dropping regulation for smaller broadcast distribution companies (under 20,000 subscribers), removing "genre protection" in competitive areas (which for the moment are sports and news), and provides greater flexibility in packaging channels.
  • opens the door to new forms of targeted advertising (ie. closer examination of viewing profiles and interests) with a hearing on the matter scheduled for next year.

While this suggests a mixed bag, it ultimately leaves consumers paying more (the new fund and time shifting fees), though not quite as much as some broadcasters were hoping for.  Interestingly, the Internet and new forms of broadcast scarcely merit a mention in the entire decision with those issues slated for review in the new media hearings next February.

Update: A Canadian Press reporter asked for my views on whether today's decision would change broadcasting in Canada by 2011.  My response:


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October 30, 2008 4 comments News