Industry Canada will no longer grant new broadcasting certificates to operate on channel 51 as it continues to plan for the digital future, the department announced in late December. In a Dec. 16 letter to the CRTC, Helen McDonald, Industry Canada’s senior assistant deputy minister for spectrum, information technologies and telecommunications, confirmed that the moratorium on channel 51 certificates applies to new regular power and low power TV licence applications. Previously available broadcasting allotments on the channel 51 frequency will also be removed from the departmental database, McDonald noted, but the moratorium will not affect existing stations already operating on those channels. The move follows last September’s digital over-the-air television conversion, which freed up channels 52-69 in most Canadian markets in advance of an anticipated mobile spectrum auction next year. “I trust that this information will clarify channel 51 usage as we move toward the next stages of planning the spectrum for the future,” she wrote in the letter, which was posted on the department’s website on Dec. 30.