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Canada will not regulate online broadcasters

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's telecoms watchdog will continue to keep Internet and cellphone-based broadcasting services out of its regulatory reach, the agency announced on Thursday.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission said it has decided to continue to exempt so-called "new media" broadcasters from its regulation in part because it fears that changing this stance would choke innovation.

"We found that the Internet and mobile services are acting in a complementary fashion to the traditional broadcasting system," CRTC Chairman Konrad von Finckenstein said in a statement.

"Any intervention on our part would only get in the way of innovation."

The CRTC also said it has not been presented with convincing evidence to suggest that increased support was needed to create and show Canadian broadcasting content online.

Widespread adoption of high-speed Internet and smartphones such as Research In Motion's BlackBerry and Apple's iPhone has meant more and more people now receive audio and video broadcasts by means other than the TV set and the radio.

Users can easily watch television programing on mobile phones or a live sporting event on their computer screens. Favorite radio stations are readily available online as well.

However, the CRTC acknowledged that online trends continue to evolve and said it expects to review its approach within the next five years.

(Reporting by Wojtek Dabrowski; editing by Rob Wilson)

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