CRTC extends new media exemption

After several weeks of hearings and few more spent deliberating, the Canadian Radio Telecommunications Commission has decided to continue exempting new media broadcasting from regulation.

That said, another review is planned for 2014 to consider then whether or not the commission should begin regulating the Internet as a broadcast medium.

“While broadcasting in new media is growing in importance, we do not believe that regulatory intervention is necessary at this time,” said Konrad von Finckenstein, Q.C., Chairman of the CRTC.

“We found that the Internet and mobile services are acting in a complementary fashion to the traditional broadcasting system. Any intervention on our part would only get in the way of innovation.”

Writing in his blog, University of Ottawa law professor Michael Geist notes that “the decision to avoid new regulations and levy schemes is a good one.”

Geist also points to one change in the new decision that differs from the CRTC’s original order in 1999 to stay out of the Internet: a proposed amendment to the new media exemption which would prevent providers from giving undue preference to themselves or any third party when it comes to serving content.

This proposal stems from a complaint made by The Weather Network claiming wireless providers were hindering the ability to provide content on mobile devices.

In the future, the CRTC will be seeking a broader mandate under the Broadcast Act so the next set of hearings will not be as limited as the current ones.

Read the full CRTC decision here.