OTTAWA, July 27, 2012 /CNW/ - CBC and Radio-Canada will shut down 623
analog transmitters on July 31, ending free access to the CBC and
Radio-Canada over the air in hundreds of small cities, towns and rural
"The TV transmitter infrastructure is worth millions and was paid for by
Canadian taxpayers," says Catherine Edwards of the Canadian Association
of Community Television Users and Stations (CACTUS). "More than 2000
Canadians protested the shutdown in letters to the CRTC last month.
They asked that the infrastructure be offered to communities to
maintain for themselves."
The letters came from Canadians served by 217 of the 623 transmission
sites. A full list can be found on the CACTUS website at http://cactus.independentmedia.ca, along with information for communities about how transmitters can be
upgraded to digital and the towers can be repurposed for community TV
and radio, high-speed Internet and cellular service.
"The CBC-TV and Radio-Canada analog transmitter shutdown is a sad
chapter in Canada's digital transition," says Karen Wirsig of the
Canadian Media Guild. "We understand that CBC is in a financial bind
with $155 million in cuts required by 2015. Something had to give.
Evidently infrastructure outside of major cities is not a priority for
the federal government, despite rhetoric about the digital economy."
Last week, the CRTC ruled that CBC/Radio-Canada could shut down the 623
analog transmitters and repeaters with no conditions and no requirement
to reach out to affected communities to offer the mothballed
"This is a major public policy failure," adds Edwards. "Everyone has
known that the digital transition was coming for two decades. It's
supposed to increase our communications services, yet no one would step
up to the plate and take leadership to make sure that neither rural
Canada nor our national public broadcaster would be crippled: not
Heritage, not the CRTC, not the CBC, and certainly not the federal
"The CBC is behaving as if it were a commercial broadcaster, rather than
a public broadcaster. You need only contrast CBC's stance with that of
TVO to underline this failure," says Ian Morrison of Friends of
TVO is also shutting down over-the-air transmission sites on July 31,
but has written to affected communities offering the transmission
towers for free.
"The federal government seems to be doing everything it can to cripple
the national broadcaster and turn it into a pay specialty service,
available to well-heeled Canadians in big cities," says Edwards.
It's not too late for many affected communities to approach the CBC to
maintain their own transmitters and towers, as the decommissioning
process will likely take several months.
SOURCE: Canadian Association for Community Television Users and Stations
For further information:
Catherine Edwards (819) 772-2862