The CRTC’s rejection today of CBC/Radio-Canada’s application for a new digital transmitter that would provide over-the-air service to Fredericton, New Brunswick, will not deter the Corporation’s commitment to providing local service in that community.
“CBC/Radio-Canada’s proposal to install a new digital transmitter in Fredericton – where our CBAT-TV station is located – was rejected by the CRTC on the grounds that it would not also serve the market of Saint John,” said Steven Guiton, Vice President and Chief Regulatory Officer at CBC/Radio-Canada. “We studied the option of installing a digital transmitter that would cover both Fredericton and Saint John from our current transmission site on Mount Champlain. That option is not financially viable given the frequency we’ve been allocated by Industry Canada for the transmitter.”
The infrastructure required to replicate the coverage of the Corporation’s current analogue transmitter from Mount Champlain would cost over $3 million. Annual operating costs would approach $350,000. These costs would be six times greater than those of the Fredericton transmitter proposal denied today by the CRTC. The Corporation concluded that an investment of that magnitude to serve Saint John – where over 95 per cent of the population subscribes to cable or satellite – was unfeasible given resources and given the continuing decline in over-the-air usage in that market.
CBC/Radio-Canada intends to re-file its application with the CRTC to provide more detailed cost estimates that will allow the Commission to better understand the unfeasibility of replicating the Corporation’s current analogue coverage.
“We understand the Commission’s wish to find a solution for over-the-air viewers in Saint John,” continued Guiton. “We share that wish, and have suggested a simple and efficient solution: allow CBC Television to continue providing the analogue service it offers today – much in the same way the Commission permitted recently in the case of Yellowknife, Whitehorse and Iqaluit.”
CBC/Radio-Canada announced its plans for the digital transition in August 2010. The Corporation is installing a digital transmitter for every one of its television stations – a total of 27 transmitters – and is committed to continue operating over 600 analogue transmitters across the country, in every location it is permitted to by the CRTC.
CBC/Radio-Canada’s new five-year strategic plan places the regions as a top priority. The Corporation will be investing in the regions over the next five years. But instead of investing in transmitters that serve fewer people as over-air-usage continues to decline, the strategy consists of enhancing our regional programming offer on multiple platforms and finding ways of providing local radio and web service to the 7 million Canadians who aren’t currently served by a local station.
CBC/Radio-Canada is Canada's national public broadcaster and one of its largest cultural institutions. The Corporation is a leader in reaching Canadians on new platforms and delivers a comprehensive range of radio, television, Internet, and satellite-based services. Deeply rooted in the regions, CBC/Radio-Canada is the only domestic broadcaster to offer diverse regional and cultural perspectives in English, French and eight Aboriginal languages, plus seven languages for international audiences.