OTTAWA — Federal lawmakers need to make foreign content providers, such as Netflix, YouTube and Amazon Prime, pay their fair share into producing Canadian content, Canada’s broadcast regulator and its public broadcaster argued this week.
What that share looks like, however, remains uncertain as the federal government moves to tear down and rebuild the country’s broadcast and telecom regulations.
Radio stations and cable providers over a certain size have to pay into the Canadian Content Development Fund and Canadian Media Fund. These organizations provide money to help fund the production of Canadian television, film, music and digital media. Canadian broadcasters have complained that it’s hard to compete with international streaming services that don’t have these extra costs. It’s a legitimate complaint as many Canadians abandon cable and satellite TV.
OTTAWA – Cellphone companies will soon no longer be allowed to charge customers to unlock their devices, Canada’s telecom regulator said Thursday as it unveiled sweeping changes to the wireless code of conduct.
The new code from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission also says as of Dec. 1, all newly purchased devices must be sold unlocked — one of several other changes aimed at giving people more control over their wireless services.
NEEPAWA, Man. — Did you know that Canadian cell phone users have one of the fastest mobile networks in the world? Neither did I, because I’m usually struggling to find more than three bars of service.
Last month, Open Signal released their annual State of Mobile Networks report, which found that Canada had the 11th fastest network in the world — faster than the U.S. and the U.K., faster in fact than many European countries. Open Signal is an application that users download to help them find networks, towers and improve their connection. It also monitors their usage, and then aggregates that information for reports on characteristics like network speeds and WiFi usage. The speed reported is an average of all of the mobile data connections a user experiences, which also means it effectively measures how much of the users’ networks have been upgraded to the faster 4G technology. The end result is a more accurate picture of real-life network performance.
NEEPAWA, Man. — Rural Canadians got some good news just before Christmas — better broadband coverage is coming. On December 21, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) announced that broadband Internet is now considered a basic service. The move puts high-speed internet into the same category as landline telephones.
The change came following a year and half of public consultations and resulted in new targets for service under sub-section 46.5(1) of the Telecommunications Act. The new targets apply to both fixed and mobile broadband services. For fixed broadband services, the target is access to an unlimited data option as well as minimum speeds of 50 megabits per second for download and 10 megabits per second for upload. For mobile broadband services, the target is access to the latest mobile wireless technology, not only in homes and businesses, but also along major Canadian transportation corridors.
Two Winnipeg radio stations have been acquired by the Jim Pattison Broadcast Group, pending CRTC approval.
FAB 94.3 (Bell Media) and QX 104 (Astral) are part of a deal announced Thursday by the broadcaster, which also includes the purchase of Calgary’s Kool FM.
“This is a very important acquisition for our Broadcast Group and, with the approval of this transaction from the CRTC, we will expand our presence in the major markets of Calgary and Winnipeg, which we have been focusing on for some time,” said Rick Arnish, chairman of Kamloops-based Jim Pattison Broadcast Group in a release.
CJNU Nostalgia Radio has been granted a full-time broadcasting license by the CRTC.
The licence will see the Winnipeg radio station move to 93.7 FM from its current frequency, 107.9 FM. The move also increases the transmission power from 50 watts to just under 500 watts.
“Our approach to programming will not change, and we will continue to support local non-profit organizations by broadcasting live from different locations such as the Variety Club of Manitoba who are the CJNU host sponsor for the month of February,” said Ross Thompson, chair of CJNU’s board.
The new licence will allow the station to stay on the air all month long, including the one day it was required to go dark under Industry Canada regulations.
The CJNU transmitter will continue to be located at the top of 55 Nassau Street to broadcast to its 20,000 weekly listeners.
CJNU will switch to its new frequency in either late August or early September.
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) is asking Canadians for feedback after unveiling its draft code for wireless services on Monday.
In a second round of public consultations, the CRTC is requesting additional feedback on creating a national code for wireless services, such as cellphones and other personal mobile devices.
More than 3,500 comments were submitted in writing, with another 600 online, when the federal broadcast regulator asked for input previously. Some of the feedback included calls for a clearer understanding of wireless services and fees, and the ability to unlock cellphones on reasonable terms.
Canadians also shared that a set a cap on additional fees, such as those incurred from long-distance calls, usage of voice minutes, text messages, data usage and roaming should be implemented, as well as better online tools to monitor usage and any additional fees.