The opinions expressed in this editorial are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Decima Reports. Consolidation at the highest levels of the Canadian IT economy isn’t always good news for Canadian consumers. Broadcasters have quietly slipped out of providing news and information to the country’s smallest demographic - the neighbourhood. The most popular programming on both television and the web is still generic in nature, appealing to a broad North American demographic, and that’s our loss. Jan Pachul and Star Ray TV have the potential to begin turning that tide by creating programming that speaks to the concerns of individuals and families - our schools, our government, our kids, our communities. Unfortunately, programming of that ilk has been hijacked by the more banal content needed to keep multi-industry entertainment conglomerates afloat. As things stand now, Rogers, Bell, CTV and others can cross-promote their offerings over print, broadcast and other media, attracting advertising dollars with each new router hop. Pachul, in the meantime, is left to fight for eyeballs on a web crowded with Britney Spears fan clubs. By denying Star Ray TV a broadcast licence, the CRTC has consigned Pachul to a second-class tier of content providers left with no option but to battle on the Internet with millions of other also-rans. The CRTC, Canadian Heritage and even Canada’s big communications companies have paid significant lip service to the importance of local voices and diversity of opinion on our televisions and radios. Now is the time to prove they believe in a socially responsible but free market approach to exploiting all communications technologies. Now is the time to let non-traditional content providers compete on a level playing field, particularly when that field includes publicly owned spectrum. Now is the time to put programming back in the hands of Canadian viewers in a way that doesn’t discriminate against those who don’t belong to the corporate Canadian club. Now is the time to give Star Ray a broadcast licence and allow it to exploit the full possibilities of convergence.