|Ottawa, 31 July 1998
|Public Notice CRTC 1998-82
|Telecom Public Notice CRTC 98-20
New Media - Call for Comments
|Table of Contents
Purpose of any Regulatory Framework
Support for Access by Canadian New Media Producers to Distribution
Financial or other Support for the Development and Production of Canadian New
|ON-LINE NEW MEDIA FORUM
| Deadlines for submissions of written
First Phase: 1 October 1998
Second Phase: 21 October 1998
Date of Public Hearing: 23 November 1998
Deadline for submission of final written comments: 15 January
|New Media - Call for Comments
|1. With this public notice, the Commission
initiates a proceeding, under both the Broadcasting Act and the
Telecommunications Act, to examine the rapidly expanding, and
increasingly available, range of communications services collectively known
or referred to as "new media".
|2. In this proceeding, the Commission wishes to
conduct a thorough public consultation on the broad implications and
significance that the new media hold for such affected parties as the
developers and producers of these services, those who are engaged in their
delivery, and those who ultimately make use of them.
|3. The Commission's purpose is to establish a
forum in which interested parties can set out their views on the new media
and engage in a constructive discussion about issues of concern. It is the
Commission's expectation that, from this proceeding, a comprehensive record
will emerge that will provide the Commission with a better understanding of
the scope and impact of the new media, the evolving industry structure, and
the potential competitive access issues that may affect consumers in all
regions of Canada. The Commission also believes that the proceeding will
offer Canadians a clearer perception of the potential benefits they may reap
from the evolution of new media services, as well as of the economic and
cultural contributions of such services to Canadian society.
|4. The Commission wishes to underscore the fact
that it brings to this proceeding no preliminary views with respect either to
how new media should be defined, or to what role, if any, the Commission
should play in their regulation or supervision. In this proceeding, the
Commission intends to develop a comprehensive record in order to assist it in
answering the following questions.
|a) In what ways, and to what extent, do new
media affect, or are they likely to affect, the broadcasting and
telecommunications undertakings now regulated by the Commission?
|b) In what ways, and to what extent, are some
or any of the new media either broadcasting or telecommunications services?
|c) To the extent that any of the new media are
broadcasting or telecommunications, to what extent should the Commission
regulate and supervise them pursuant to the Broadcasting Act and the
|d) Do the new media raise any other broad
policy issues of national interest?
|5. The Commission notes that, among
participants in this process, the term new media will likely have many
different meanings. Views will undoubtedly vary just as widely concerning
whether there is a benefit to be gained or other purpose served through any
regulatory initiatives regarding their development, distribution,
transmission or eventual use.
|6. New media can be described as encompassing,
singly or in combination, and whether interactive or not, services and
products that make use of video, audio, graphics and alphanumeric text; and
involving, along with other, more traditional means of distribution, digital
delivery over networks interconnected on a local or global scale. The
Commission considers that this may be a useful working description for the
purposes of this proceeding.
|7. At the same time, the Commission notes that
under such a description, virtually all services found on the Internet could
be considered as forms of new media. Some might argue that services, when
delivered using private corporate networks, should be excluded from any
description of new media. Others may suggest that the definition of new media
services should exclude certain types of services in any event, regardless of
the technology used for their distribution (i.e. whether they are delivered
via the Internet or by a private network). There may well be many services
that, for various other reasons, are considered to be new media services by
some, but not by others.
|8. The Commission therefore encourages
interested parties to provide it with comments on, among the other issues set
out below, an appropriate working description of new media.
|9. Following the public hearing, the Commission
intends to document the various views expressed by those participating in
this proceeding, for the purpose of identifying any issues, trends or options
that may emerge. The Commission may also, where appropriate, make
determinations with respect to certain of these issues.
|10. By Order in Council P.C. 1994-1689 dated 11
October 1994, the Government requested that the Commission report back to it
on a number of matters, as they relate to the Commission's area of
responsibility respecting the development of content and competition policies
for new communications technologies and services that will comprise the
|11. In particular, the Order in Council stated:
| Our policies must encourage the development of
Canadian content that can compete with the best the world has to offer,
including cultural, entertainment and educational products. Our policies must
also ensure the continued support of our cultural industries by ensuring that
new broadcasting content services meet the sovereignty and cultural identity
objectives of the Broadcasting Act, and that content services are
introduced in a manner which contributes to the objective of reinforcing
Canadian sovereignty and cultural identity.
|12. The Order in Council also indicated that
the four principles to guide the information highway strategy would be:
|. an interconnected and interoperable network of
|. collaborative private and public sector
|. competition in facilities, products and
|. privacy protection and network security.
|A fifth principle was added by the Information
Highway Advisory Council in its September 1995 report stating: lifelong
learning as a key design element of Canada's Information Highway.
|13. In its 19 May 1995 report to the Government
entitled Competition and Culture on Canada's Information Highway: Managing
the Realities of Transition (the Convergence Report), the Commission
noted, among other things, that the current definitions in the
Broadcasting Act will likely capture many new and emerging services, for
example, on-line commercial multimedia services.
|14. In the period since publication of the
Convergence Report, it has become apparent that there are increasing numbers
and types of services being delivered by way of new distribution methods and
technologies. Internet audio, video and other services, whether delivered on
demand or in real time, are becoming more widely available as the result of
software and hardware developments and greater network capabilities.
|15. A fundamental objective of the
Broadcasting Act is to ensure the availability of high quality and
diverse Canadian programming that maximizes use of Canadian creative and
other resources in a manner that supports Canadian sovereignty and Canada's
cultural identity. The substantial growth and development of new media, and
their delivery over both global and domestic networks, have not altered this
fundamental objective, which has challenged and preoccupied Canadians for
much of the 20th century.
|16. The Commission, in furtherance of its
mandate to implement the policy objectives contained in the Broadcasting
Act, has sought to enrich and strengthen the economic, social and
cultural fabric of Canada by ensuring a prominent Canadian presence in the
content and delivery of broadcasting services.
|17. Nevertheless, the Commission is aware that
the approaches that have proven successful in the past with respect to the
distribution of the programming services of conventional broadcasting
undertakings may be inappropriate for the distribution of new media services
to Canadians, or inadequate in an age of worldwide networks and the global
delivery of services.
|18. The Commission also considers that its
regulation of the Canadian telecommunications system has served to achieve
the Canadian telecommunications policy objectives of the
Telecommunications Act. This includes the continued provision of reliable
and affordable services during a period of increased reliance on market
|19. The Commission examined the matter of
access by Canadians to new media services in the Convergence Report, and this
topic continues to be an important issue. In its report, the Commission noted
that the objectives of its traditional regulatory approach have been to
achieve universality in telecommunications. The Commission, however, is also
aware that, as technology continues to evolve, and as traditional
telecommunications services are increasingly delivered using alternative
distribution networks such as the Internet, the existing subsidy approach may
come under increasing pressure.
|20. The worldwide growth of interconnected
local and larger public networks, and the global nature of the new media
services developed and provided over them, may thus raise other issues upon
which interested parties may wish to comment. Within the framework of this
proceeding, parties may, for example, wish to provide their views on the
ability of Canadians to access new media services, in all their dimensions
and diversity (including health, learning, entertainment and commerce), with
a view to contributing to the identification and discussion of issues in this
area. The Commission notes that it is currently examining related issues in
the proceeding initiated by Service to High-Cost Serving Areas,
Telecom Public Notice CRTC 97-42
dated 18 December 1997.
|21. In order to assist interested parties in
developing their submissions, but without wishing to limit comment, the
Commission has set out below a number of questions for parties to address, in
the context of responding to the more general questions set out in the
Preface to this Public Notice.
|. What kinds of new media services are either
currently available or can reasonably be expected to emerge in the future?
|. How does the current industry structure
contribute to the development, production, transmission, distribution and use
of new media? What role might the industry play in the future in carrying out
|. What are the competitive implications arising
from the development, production, transmission and distribution of new media
|. What are the current and potential business
and economic models for the development, production, transmission and
distribution, use and export of new media?
|. What incentives might prompt existing and new
industry participants to develop, produce, promote and distribute Canadian
|Purpose of any Regulatory Framework
|. Would some form of broad enabling framework
serve to stimulate the economic and cultural development of a new media
|. If so, what are the elements of any such
enabling framework for Canadian new media that would best ensure the
continued growth and development of the sector and, at the same time, achieve
the social, cultural and economic objectives of the Broadcasting Act?
|. Would regulation of the undertakings providing
these services contribute materially to, or detract from, the attainment of
the objectives set out in the Broadcasting Act?
|. Would the issuance of an exemption order,
under the Broadcasting Act, in respect of some or all broadcasting
undertakings engaged in the provision of new media products and services
facilitate or hinder the achievement of the Act's policy objectives?
|. If an exemption order would facilitate the
achievement of these policy objectives, what would be the appropriate scope
of such an exemption order?
|. Are there forms of Canadian new media content
for which some degree of regulation would be appropriate with respect, for
example, to privacy issues, offensive content (e.g. obscenity, hate
propaganda, and discriminatory material), violence and gender portrayal, and
advertising to children?
|. Are there issues of concern related to the
production and distribution of Canadian new media that could be appropriately
dealt with through self-regulatory initiatives? If so, what forms should such
|. To the extent that new media are now, or may
reasonably be expected to become, complementary or substitutable for existing
broadcasting services and their distribution systems, what is the potential
impact of this on the existing regulatory and policy framework, and what
mechanisms could be developed that would be fair and equitable to all
|Support for Access by Canadian New Media
Producers to Distribution
|. If access by producers of Canadian new media
to distribution channels and content aggregators is an existing or potential
problem that needs to be addressed, how should this be accomplished?
|. Are there issues of access to distribution by
new media present in other countries that might impact on Canadian producers?
|. What approaches to these issues might be
appropriate in the Canadian context, and why?
|. Should on-line distributors of new media in
Canada be required to contribute to the production of Canadian new media
products and services? If so, what impact would such a requirement have on
the development of the industry generally, and on the deployment of
|. Can the promotion and prominence, within
Canada, of Canadian new media product be ensured? If so, how could the
development and production of Canadian new media (in English, French and
other languages) best be achieved, both domestically and internationally?
|Financial or other Support for the
Development and Production of Canadian New Media Services
|. What forms of support for the development and
production of Canadian new media currently exist?
|. What further forms of support, if any, for the
development and production of Canadian new media might be required?
|. If financial support is required, what might
be the most appropriate mechanisms for delivering that support?
|. How have the broad issues of new media funding
been approached in other countries?
|. Which of these approaches would or would not
be appropriate in the Canadian context, and why?
|. Is it necessary to define what constitutes a
Canadian new media product or service for funding and support purposes and,
if yes, what criteria should be used for doing so?
|. What role, if any, should the Commission play
in encouraging or requiring the provision of support for the development and
production of Canadian new media?
|22. The Commission will hold a three phase
process for the submission of written comments by interested parties on the
above questions or on any other matters relevant to this examination of new
media. In the first phase interested parties may file comments with the
Commission by no later than 1 October 1998.
|23. Interested parties, regardless of whether
they have made submissions during the first phase, may then file comments, by
no later than 21 October 1998, with respect to matters raised by any
of the comments submitted during the first phase.
|24. Interested parties filing submissions that
are over five pages in length are asked to include a short executive summary
of no more than three pages in length.
|25. The Commission will only accept submissions
that it receives on or before the prescribed dates noted above. While
submissions will not otherwise be acknowledged, they will be considered by
the Commission and will form part of the public record of the proceeding,
provided the procedures set out herein have been followed.
|26. The Commission will hold the oral phase of
this proceeding to consider the matters addressed in this notice commencing
at 9:00 a.m. on 23 November 1998 at the Conference Centre, Phase IV,
140 Promenade du Portage, Hull, Quebec.
|27. Interested parties wishing to appear at the
oral public hearing must state their request on the first page of their
written submissions. Such parties must also provide clear reasons, on the
first page of their submissions, as to why their written submissions are not
sufficient and why their appearance is necessary. The Commission will inform
parties whether their request to appear has been granted.
|28. The Commission may, in advance of the oral
phase, request that interested parties focus on specific issues in their oral
|29. Following the oral public hearing,
interested parties, including those who have participated in the New Media
Forum (see below), will have an opportunity to file with the Commission final
written arguments. These final comments must be filed no later than 15
|30. Submissions filed in response to this
notice must be addressed to the Secretary General, CRTC, Ottawa, K1A 0N2.
|31. All submissions must be filed in hard copy
format. The Commission, however, also encourages parties to include, with the
hard version of their submissions, a copy on diskette, or to file copies
electronically. Each paragraph of the document should be numbered. In
addition, as an indication that the document has not been damaged during
electronic transmission, the line ***End of Document*** should be entered
following the last paragraph of each document. The Commission's Internet
e-mail address for electronically filed documents is
|32. The Commission requests that parties
wishing to send submissions to it in the form of e- mail messages or as file
attachments to e-mail messages, should include information clearly
identifying the name of the individual or company making the submission, the
name of the proceeding or other subject to which the submission pertains, the
date the e-mail was sent, and the name that has been given to any file
|33. In order to facilitate access by the
public, submissions filed in electronic form will be available, in the
language and format in which they are submitted, on the Commission's web site
at www.crtc.gc.ca .
|ON-LINE NEW MEDIA FORUM
|34. The McLuhan Program E-Lab unit, on behalf
of the CRTC, will host a New Media Forum website at
http://www.newmedia-forum.net (English) and at http://www.forum-
nouveau-media.net (French). The website will allow the public to engage
in discussion on issues relating to this public notice. The launch of the
site is scheduled for 31 July 1998.
|35. The site will be open for postings on 22
September 1998 and will provide an opportunity for the public to
participate in both moderated and unmoderated discussions of the issues
addressed in this notice. Acceptable use policies are posted on the web site;
McLuhan Program E-Lab moderators will ensure that a civil discussion
environment is maintained and that no material that may be construed as
discriminatory, promulgating hatred or obscenity, or defamation of any kind
is posted on the site.
|36. In addition, summaries, in both official
languages, of all moderated and unmoderated discussions on the site will be
made available and will form part of the record of this proceeding. The first
summary will be posted, on both the Forum website and the CRTC website, two
weeks after the site is opened for posts. Further summaries will be prepared
and posted at least every two weeks thereafter.
|37. The New Media Forum will accept postings up
to and including 22 November 1998. A final summary of the postings
shall be prepared and placed on the public record of the proceeding before
final comments are due. All content posted by the public and all summaries
prepared by the McLuhan Program form part of the record of this proceeding.
|EXAMINATION OF RELATED DOCUMENTS AND PUBLIC
COMMENTS AT THE FOLLOWING COMMISSION OFFICES DURING NORMAL OFFICE HOURS:
Les Terrasses de la Chaudière
1 Promenade du Portage, Room 201
Hull, Quebec K1A ON2
Tel.: (819) 997-2429 - TDD: 994-0423
Telecopier: (819) 994-0218
|Bank of Commerce Building
1809 Barrington Street
Halifax, Nova Scotia B3J 3K8
Tel: (902) 426-7997 - TDD 426-6997
Telecopier: (902) 426-2721
|Place Montréal Trust
1800 McGill College Avenue
Montréal, Quebec H3A 3J6
Tel: (514) 283-6607 - TDD 283-8316
Telecopier: (514) 283-3689
|55 St. Clair Avenue East
Tel. : 1-877-249-2782 (Toll Free)
275 Portage Avenue
Winnipeg, Manitoba R3B 2B3
Tel: (204) 983-6306 - TDD 983-8274
Telecopier: (204) 983-6317
|530-580 Hornby Street
Vancouver, British Columbia V6C 3B6
Tel: (604) 666-2111 - TDD 666-0778
Telecopier: (604) 666-8322
|Laura M. Talbot-Allan
|This document is available in alternative
format upon request.