ARCHIVED -  Public Notice CRTC 1994-33

This page has been archived on the Web

Information identified as archived on the Web is for reference, research or recordkeeping purposes. Archived Decisions, Notices and Orders (DNOs) remain in effect except to the extent they are amended or reversed by the Commission, a court, or the government. The text of archived information has not been altered or updated after the date of archiving. Changes to DNOs are published as “dashes” to the original DNO number. Web pages that are archived on the Web are not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards. As per the Communications Policy of the Government of Canada, you can request alternate formats by contacting us.

Public Notice

Ottawa, 23 March 1994
Public Notice CRTC 1994-33
Call for Comments - Proposed Exemption Order Respecting Experimental Video-on-Demand Programming Undertakings
In Public Notice CRTC 1993-74 dated 3 June 1993 and issued following the March 1993 "Structural" hearing, the Commission made the following comment respecting the evolving communications environment:
 The Commission is committed to ensuring that Canadians continue to have maximum access to Canadian programming services, and that they are served by the most efficient distribution technology. In this regard, the traditional delivery technologies of over-the-air broadcasting services and cable will face increasing competitive challenges from new and emerging distribution systems, including MDS (multipoint distribution systems), satellite services, telephone carriers and other communication services.
The Commission is aware of interest by several parties in experimenting with various technological developments that would permit potential subscribers to access programming by means of a switched distribution architecture over broadband and narrowband local networks.
The Commission considers that any undertaking involved in video-on-demand (VOD) experiments or trials where switched networks are employed to deliver programming to the public may well fall within the definition of a broadcasting undertaking set out in the Broadcasting Act (the Act), and hence, would fall within the Commission's jurisdiction.
Proposed Exemption Order
Subsection 9(4) of the Act states that:
 The Commission shall, by order, on such terms as it deems appropriate, exempt persons who carry on broadcasting undertakings of any class specified in the order from any or all requirements of this Part or of a regulation made under this Part where the Commission is satisfied that compliance with those requirements will not contribute in a material manner to the implementation of the [broadcasting policy for Canada].
The Commission considers that to require the operators of certain experimental VOD programming undertakings to comply with Part II of the Act or with all regulations made thereunder will not contribute in a material manner to the implementation of the broadcasting policy for Canada. Instead, the Commission considers that establishing exemption criteria can provide an appropriate degree of regulation for such experimental programming undertakings at this time. Moreover, the Commission considers that an exemption approach to experimental VOD trials may facilitate the development of new distribution technologies and new programming service concepts that would strengthen the Canadian broadcasting system. The Commission also recognizes its responsibility as set out in subsection 5(2) of the Act to ensure that the Canadian broadcasting system is regulated and supervised in a flexible manner that "is readily adaptable to scientific and technological change" and "does not inhibit the development of information technologies and their application or the delivery of resultant services to Canadians". Accordingly, the Commission calls for public comment on the criteria set out in the proposed exemption order for Canadian experimental VOD programming undertakings contained in the attachment to this notice. Experimental VOD programming undertakings that do not meet these criteria would require a licence from the Commission to operate in Canada.
To ensure that exempt VOD programming undertakings do not negatively affect the acquisition of program rights by licensed programming undertakings, the proposed order requires the operators of exempt VOD programming undertakings to acquire commercial programming rights from licensees of the Commission. This requirement also reflects the Commission's position, stated in its 3 June 1993 notice, that broadcasting and telecommunications services should explore opportunities for co-operative ventures at this time to strengthen the Canadian broadcasting system.
Persons wishing to comment on the proposed exemption order as set out in the attachment, or on other related policy issues, must submit their comments to the Secretary General, CRTC, Ottawa, K1A 0N2 by Friday, 22 April 1994. While receipt of submissions will not be acknowledged, they will be considered by the Commission and will form part of the public record of the proceeding.
Related Document: Public Notice CRTC 1993-74, entitled "Structural Public Hearing".
Allan J. Darling
Secretary General
The Commission, pursuant to sub-section 9(4) of the Broadcasting Act (the Act), by this order, exempts from the requirements of Part II of the Act and any regulation made thereunder, those persons carrying on broadcasting undertakings of the class defined by the following criteria:
I. Purpose
The purpose of these programming undertakings is to conduct a limited field trial or experiment of video-on-demand (VOD) technology using the public telecommunications network of a Canadian carrier, or the distribution facilities of a cable distribution undertaking licensed by the Commission, to determine the feasibility of delivering video-on-demand programming over that network or those facilities.
II. Description
1. The Commission would not be prohibited from licensing the undertaking by virtue of any Act of Parliament, of the Direction to the Commission (Eligible Canadian Corporations) or of any other direction to the Commission by the Governor in Council.
2. The undertaking meets all technical requirements of the Department of Communications and has acquired all authorizations or certificates prescribed by the Department.
3. The undertaking uses the facilities of a Canadian carrier within the meaning of the Telecommunications Act or a cable distribution undertaking licensed by the Commission.
4. The programming service of the undertaking is not generally available on the facilities of the Canadian carrier or on those of the cable distribution undertaking licensed by the Commission. The selected portion of those facilities on which it is available is limited,
a) in the case of a carrier, to not more than either 400 terminals, 95 per cent of which are located in the same local calling area, or to 5 per cent of the terminals in a single calling area, whichever is the lesser or,
b) in the case of a cable distribution undertaking licensed by the Commission, to not more than either 400 subscribers or 5 per cent of its subscribers, whichever is the lesser.
5. The experiment is less than two years in duration.
6. Unless the experiment involves the distribution of course materials by schools, colleges or universities, or unless the equipment used is substantially different from that used in any other similar experiment previously carried on by the undertaking, the experiment is conducted only once, using any part of the facilities of a Canadian carrier or cable distribution undertaking licensed by the Commission.
7. The undertaking obtains from a programming undertaking licensed by the Commission the right to distri-bute any feature motion picture film originally intended for theatrical release or any programming originally intended for broadcast by conventional television stations.
8. The undertaking is conducted on a not-for-profit basis.9. The undertaking distributes no advertising material as defined in the Television Broadcasting Regulations, 1987 as amended from time to time.

Date modified: