The hearing is one of a series being held by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission to determine whether broadcasting over the internet should be subject to federal regulations.

Kerr argued that internet radio is a direct competitor and a serious threat to satellite radio, especially now that it is becoming increasingly available on portable wireless devices and even some devices that can be built into the dashboard of a car.

"This view is supported by an increasing number of articles in the press opining that internet radio is a category killer and the category that it would kill would be ours," she said.

That would be bad for Canadian artists, as satellite radio broadcasters are required by the CRTC to offer significant support for Canadian artists by ensuring a certain percentage of their content is Canadian - specifically supporting emerging artists and contributing money to a fund to support Canadian artists.

Other broadcasters have similar obligations, which also indirectly force them to exclude certain non-Canadian content, Kerr said.

At the same time, wireless and ISPs now have revenues in the billions per year, some of that driven by audio broadcasting, and some are increasingly behaving like broadcasters.

For example, Kerr said, Bell Mobility provides a service that gives customers access to 60 internet radio stations for $8 a month.

Kerr said one way to level the playing field would be requiring ISPs to geoblock - make unavailable to Canadians - audio content that doesn't comply with Canadian content requirements.

That move would thrill satellite radio companies, Kerr added.

"We would actually throw a party for you. Nothing else would level the playing field for us from a regulatory perspective," she said. "However, we recognize that this approach flies in face of the principles of openness and freedom of choice that governs the internet."

She suggested that an alternative would be to require wireless carriers and ISPs to pay a levy proportional to their revenues related to broadcasting.

That wouldn't completely level the playing field, as broadcasters are still bound by Canadian content rules that internet radio is not, Kerr said. Because of that, she said, new media should pay a higher levy while the levy should be lowered for her own company.

She acknowledged that some people would be opposed to the new fee and consider it a tax that could boost internet fees for wireless and broadband internet customers, and discourage them from buying those services.

However, she said, given that people are willing to pay much higher fees for faster internet and the fact that it is becoming a necessity, it's unlikely the levy would cost the companies customers.

"Customers are highly unlikely to cancel their service because they're paying an extra dollar a month," she said.