It’s been suggested in a press release issued by the Canadian Association of Community Television User Groups and Stations (CACTUS) that CBC/Radio-Canada should “make available for public use” the analogue TV transmission infrastructure that is slated for shutdown on July 31, 2012.
CACTUS has shown a misunderstanding of the issue, and its press release risks confusing communities about the critical distinction between towers and transmitters, and of the different circumstances facing CBC/Radio-Canada and TVO.
Contrary to CACTUS's assertions, CBC/Radio-Canada is decommissioning only a small proportion of its towers as a result of this measure. In fact, the majority of the Corporation’s analogue TV transmitters are located on towers where it either leases space from another telecom/broadcasting company, or where it will continue to operate radio transmitters.
The few tower sites slated for decommissioing will be put up for sale. CACTUS is incorrect in stating that CBC/Radio-Canada “is not planning to consult affected communities.” In fact, in these locations, the Corporation has every intention of reaching out to communities interested in purchasing the site to pursue their own community broadcasting interests.
It’s worth noting that TVO’s offer to communities is premised on circumstances different from CBC/Radio-Canada’s, in that TVO assets typically reside in locations already owned by the community.
Analogue transmitters are antiquated pieces of equipment that are becoming increasingly expensive to operate and maintain, and being used by fewer and fewer Canadians – only 1.7 percent use them today.
Considering how few Canadians use analogue equipment, it is unlikely that communities will show interest in making the investments required to continue operating an analogue transmitter: leasing tower space, power consumption, maintenance costs, and the purchase of satellite downlink and digital-to-analogue decoder equipment. But for those who do show interest, we are happy to talk about the transfer of equipment to them.
CBC/Radio-Canada announced the shutdown of its analogue transmission network as one of the measures to deal with the Corporation budgetary challenges. The decommissioning will save the Corporation $10 million annually. The sale of associated assets will generate revenue that will go back into programming. Click here for details.
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