Post Tagged with: "broadcast"

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

Dunbar/Leblanc Report on Broadcasting Policy Released

The CRTC has released a major report on Canadian broadcasting reform.  The 337 page report recommends re-examining substitution rules, discusses the link between broadcast and copyright, and provides some solid recommendations on new media including "the solutions to this issue [new media] lie not in imposing new regulatory restrictions on […]

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September 13, 2007 Comments are Disabled Must Reads

Corus Calls For Net Neutrality Task Force

As I wrote earlier this week, the deadline for submissions for the CRTC's Diversity of Voices proceeding closed on Wednesday.  There is a lot to review – samples of submissions from hundreds of Canadians, competing consultants reports (CFTPA hired Nordicity, Canwest hired Communic@tions Management), some calls for regulation of new media content (ACTRA, Socan), and opposing claims about whether the CRTC should encourage or discourage greater media concentration.

My column focused on the net neutrality issues associated with new media and the diversity of voices and I think it is noteworthy that several submissions raised similar concerns.  Corus, which is one of Canada's most successful media and entertainment companies, immediately became one of the highest profile Canadian companies to express concern about net neutrality, stating:

Canadian creators and producers need to ensure that they can continue to have access to the networked bit stream on the basis of equitable rules.  The CRTC should examine its potential role in governing net neutrality to ensure that access remains open to Canadian services on new digital distribution platforms.  Corus recommends the establishment of an Industry Task Force on net neutrality.

The Corus concerns were echoed by Pelmorex, which owns the Weather Network, which ranks among the most popular Canadian websites.  

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July 20, 2007 1 comment News