In the fall, the government announced a plan to create a new TV service that would be free to all Canadians.
The plan, which was announced on Wednesday, has been widely hailed as a major step forward for consumers, who have struggled to find an alternative to the $70 a month that cable companies charge for services such as TV channels, online video and podcasts.
For some, it has also been a headache for cable companies that have to fight regulators to get their programming onto the platform, which they say can be difficult and expensive.
“We are thrilled to announce that the federal government will now allow Canadian consumers to receive the best local, local content on the Internet in the future,” said Tim Colley, CEO of Telus Corp. in a statement.
“The government’s decision will make it easier for Canadians to enjoy the best programming on TV, and give them access to content they want to watch.
Canada has one of the largest Internet TV markets in the world and it is vital that we ensure that Canadians get the best TV they want.”
The move will also make it possible for Canadian television stations to offer live streaming content for the first time.
Cable companies are hoping that it will boost the number of subscribers and the number who watch their programming, said David Miron, executive director of the Canadian Cable Association.
“It’s a significant step in the right direction for the Canadian TV ecosystem,” he said in an interview.
Miron said the federal plan will help ease some of the regulatory concerns that have plagued Canadian TV operators for years.
It is important to recognize that Canadian TV providers have had to fight against an extremely complex set of rules that require them to comply with a range of rules from rules to regulations, and even rules governing the delivery of TV content, Miron said.
A TV station could choose to launch live streaming services but would have to be licensed by the government to offer those services.
As part of the deal, the federal cable regulator will now also have the power to review the Canadian television network license application.
The FCC, the body that regulates cable TV in the U.S., had been in the process of reopening its cable TV license system to applications from Canadian companies that want to stream their programming on the internet.
That process, which had been frozen by the 2015 election, is expected to be completed this year.
The Canadian Broadcasting Corp. is in the middle of a rebranding effort, but its broadcast network remains in English and is expected in 2018.