Bell drops coin into tech

BANFF, Alberta — Canada’s biggest telephone company, Bell Canada, says it will give independent production companies C$12 million ($8.8 million) over the next 2-1/2 years to encourage the development of multimedia content.

The Bell Broadcast and New Media Fund is part of a $50 million commitment Canada’s telecom industry made to federal regulators in 1995 to support its bid to get into the broadcasting business.

Bell plans trials of new interactive technology in London, Ontario, and Repentigny, Quebec, and of high-speed digital subscriber line services in Kanata, Ontario, and St. Bruno, Quebec, which it sees as future means of delivering new media.

John Sheridan, Bell’s group VP of business development and president of MediaLinx Interactive, told journalists attending the Banff Television Festival Tuesday that the new fund will distribute money to production companies in Ontario and Quebec to stimulate innovative approaches for adapting broadcasting content to multimedia applications.

Sheridan told Daily Variety that Bell hopes to link companies in Ontario and Quebec with partners in other parts of Canada. However, projects including foreign partners will not be eligible for funding.

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