CRTC Policy Review news for Campus and Community Radio

One of the reasons I’ve been hanging out more in the physical world is that I was working on the submission of the Community Radio Fund of Canada (CRFC) to the CRTC Policy Review for our sector. One month and 22 pages later, here we are. And more than 100 stations, organizations, private broadcasters, governement agencies, and individuals submitted their thoughts as well. More information in the CRFC posting below.

CRFC Participates in Review of Campus and Community Radio
Friday, 16 October 2009

In July 2009, the CRTC launched a review of its Campus and Community Radio Policies. The CRFC filed its comments today outlining the funding reality of the sector and some possible solutions to help lessen its financial stresses. The CRFC is recommending a funding model for both the campus and community radio stations and the CRFC that includes funding from the federal government as well as Canada’s private broadcasters and distributors. You can read the CRFC’s comments here. The CRTC hearing for this process will begin on January 18, 2010. (Links updated November 2013)

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Net Neutrality News

I like to keep an eye on things around Net Neutrality, but I will certainly leave it to the experts to put forth some thoughts and opinions about the recent CRTC Decision on this issue.

CRTC Sets Net Neutrality Framework But Leaves Guarantees More Complaints
Michael Geist

Wednesday October 21, 2009
The CRTC’s net neutrality (aka traffic management) decision is out and though it does not go as far as some advocates might hope, it unquestionably advances the ball forward on several important fronts. When considering the decision, it is important to remember that 12 months ago, there was virtually no ISP disclosure of traffic management practices and even an unwillingness to acknowledge that there was an issue. Today’s CRTC decision signifies that traffic management is not a free-for-all and the days of ISPs arguing that they can do whatever they please on their networks is over. That said, it also guarantees that traffic management practices such as throttling will continue and it is going to take more complaints to concretely address the issue. READ MORE

Net Neutrality Developments
Marie Elliott, SaveOurNet.ca (site no longer active)
According to Michael Geist, the Canadian government should take some initiative and aid the complete enforcement of net neutrality in Canada. Now that a policy has been created regarding net neutrality, the government needs to make sure that ISPs are following this framework correctly. Geist mainly places this task in the hands of Industry Minister Tony Clement. Geist thinks that Clement should become more engaged in the issue. Fortunately, Clement has stated he is “watching those [Internet Service] providers very closely and [does] not want to see a situation where consumers are put at risk in terms of their access to the Internet.”

Net Neutrality in Canada Still a Work in Progress
Michael Geist

Monday October 26, 2009
The release last week of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission’s report on Internet traffic management – known as the net neutrality decision – attracted national attention. Canadians, Internet service providers, and politicians debated whether the regulator had struck the right balance in addressing how ISPs manage Internet traffic. While some headlines seemed to suggest that the CRTC has given Canada’s ISPs the green light to do as they please, my weekly technology law column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) argues the reality is that the decision establishes several notable requirements and restrictions, but leaves the door open for further action from the government. READ MORE

CRTC dropped the ball on net neutrality: Charlie Angus
Decision leaves consumers and users out in the cold

(From a news release dated Thursday, October 22, 2009)
OTTAWA – Yesterday’s CRTC decision on Internet traffic-management practices is a blow to the future of digital innovation in Canada, said New Democrat Digital Affairs Critic Charlie Angus (Timmins-James Bay). The decision allows Bell and other giant Internet service providers (ISPs) to throttle the internet traffic of competitors or end users if they see fit. This interference will be bad news for small third-party competitors and leaves consumers subject to digital snooping and interference from cable giants. Angus said the CRTC has once again failed to stand up for the public interest. “Basically the CRTC has left the wolves in charge of the henhouse. ISP giants have been given the green light to shape traffic on the internet in favour of their corporate interests,” he said. “This decision is a huge blow to the future competitiveness of the internet.” READ MORE

Did the CRTC just crap the bed on Canada’s net neutrality decision?
Wirelessnorth.ca (article no longer available)
The answers so far are no, yes and maybe. Depending who you ask. Brush up on the announcement and initial reactions here: Peter Nowak has excellent coverage today of the CRTC call (long time coming) on net neutrality in Canada. Michael Geist and Ars Technica offer some balanced opinion. What everyone seems to agree on is that CRTC’s framework is reasonable, and is highly progressive relative to where the debate was just a year or more ago. We’ve argued in the past for economic solutions to ISP capacity which is what the CRTC is also stressing.

The Open Internet: It’s for everyone
Marie Elliott, SaveOurNet.ca (site no longer active)
Free Form (site no longer active) created a video about keeping the Internet free and open, and how this will benefit people everywhere. Check it out!

Net Neutrality FAQ: What’s in it for You
Tim Greene, Network World
PCWorld

The FCC has approved a notice of proposed rule making on the subject of net neutrality, and here are a few questions and answers to help shine a light on what that means. (See “FCC takes first step toward net neutrality rules“) What exactly did the FCC do? The FCC agreed to consider what regulations, if any, to impose on ISPs about the applications and services that they allow, ban or rate limit. The process calls for formally proposing rules and holding public hearings on them. A vote about the rules themselves will take place sometime next year. READ MORE

(Links updated November 2013)

Will They or Won’t They – Canadian feds could sell CBC, NAC, VIA

I’ve been a little busy these days and have not been following a lot, but someone posted this on Facebook (thanks Barry Rueger).  This article is primarily quoting Canwest and Mcleans. This is something we should keep our eyes on, I think. If there is any chance for public input, we should all take advantage.

Having a private CBC would not be in the interest of Canadians. First of all, the Broadcasting Act specifically states that the system should be comprised of private, public, and community elements. The CBC is the only broadcaster in the public sector in Canada. So selling it off could mean that the government would be breaking the law. And of course, it would almost certainly mean a change in the content.

I don’t know all the implications of having a privatized National Arts Centre or VIA Rail, but I’m thinking there would be more harm than good for all Canadians.

So, as Paul Wells said, “now, don’t get too excited.” But just keep your eyes open.

Will Tories sell the CBC?
From The Tyee‘s newsletter/blog The Hook
By Crawford Kilian, a contributing editor of The Tyee, June 1, 2009

On Friday afternoon, when no one was paying attention, the Canwest newspapers broke a big story: The Harper government is considering selling off the CBC, the National Arts Centre, and VIA Rail.

According to Andrew Mayeda of Canwest, the government is considering privatizing a number of Crown corporations including CBC and VIA Rail. Mayeda quotes SFU professor Aidain Vining:

They’re not the classic privatization candidates, where you sell and walk away,” said Vining, an expert in Crown corporation privatizations. Unless, of course, you’re prepared to fully withdraw from the public purpose (of the Crown corporation).

Certainly, the sale of a flagship Crown asset such as the CBC would be politically controversial.

Paul Wells, blogging on the Macleans website, says:

Now, don’t get too excited. Andrew Mayeda’s story is careful to point out that there is, as yet, no plan to put the NAC or the Corp on the block. He seems to have got his hands on a departmental survey of all saleable assets. And it’s less glamorous Crown properties that are listed above the blue-chip properties Andrew mentions in his lede. It’s entirely possible for the feds to reject a sale of these marquee assets, or indeed of any assets at all.

But Paul Dewar, the NDP MP who gets quoted in the Sun story above and has archived it on his website, is right. The feds are not only airily mulling an asset sale in the abstract, they’ve booked revenue from it in this budget year, and in succeeding years, to the tune of many billions of dollars in total sales. When Dewar quizzed Jim Flaherty about it three months ago, Flaherty was nonchalant in acknowledging, broadly, the premise of Dewar’s questions.

There are really only two possibilities. The government can [sell] billions of dollars worth of stuff, or its deficit can be billions of dollars higher.

On Friday evening, The Hook found no responses yet from Friends of Canadian Broadcasting, Inside the CBC, J-Source, or CBC News.

(Links updated November 2013)

Did You Know . . .

One of my favourite blogs is The Best Article Every Day. For March 31, they posted a great little video geared to make you think and offer a little perspective. I’m not sure if all of the facts are 100% spot on, so you might want to fact check before you start quoting anything. But I really liked the video not because it is surprising or even contains all new information, but because it really does make you think.

November 28 – Buy Nothing Day

November 28

November 28

If you are not familiar with Adbusters and care about the “erosion of our physical and cultural environments by commercial forces”, find out more now.

But Nothing Day was born in 1992 and adopted by environmentalists, but has since grown into an international campaign. And this year, Buy Noting Day is looking at the current economic crisis.

From the Adbusters website:

Suddenly, we ran out of money and, to avoid collapse, we quickly pumped liquidity back into the system. But behind our financial crisis a much more ominous crisis looms: we are running out of nature… fish, forests, fresh water, minerals, soil. What are we going to do when supplies of these vital resources run low?

There’s only one way to avoid the collapse of this human experiment of ours on Planet Earth: we have to consume less.

It will take a massive mindshift. You can start the ball rolling by buying nothing on November 28th. Then celebrate Christmas differently this year, and make a New Year’s resolution to change your lifestyle in 2009.

It’s now or never!