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No mobile content rules, sez CRTC

Cell phone content falls under Media Exemption Order

TORONTO — Canada’s broadcast regulator is keeping its hands off programming on cell phones — for now.

TV programming provided on cell phones by Bell Mobility, Rogers Wireless and Telus Mobility falls under the New Media Exemption Order, which applies to programming over the Internet.

“The Commission considers that exempting mobile television services promotes innovation in delivering television to Canada without adversely impacting the ability of licensed broadcasters to fulfill their obligations under the Broadcasting Act,” said Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission chairman Charles Dalfen on Wednesday.

However, Canada’s largest actors’ union expressed “frustration” at the decision, as there are no local content minimums for unlicensed broadcasters. Stephen Waddell, ACTRA’s national executive director, forecast there would be “yet more U.S. programming.”

Noting that the decision draws on research from 1999, he added, “It’s time the CRTC entered the 21st century… and developed a new perspective on how Canada is going to deal with digital media and emerging technologies.”

The regulator left the door open for change, however, and invited interested parties to submit comments by May 12.