Dear Minister Moore,
Writing to wish you a Happy 8 Months until Canada’s digital television transition.
Seeing that it’s the end of 2010, I figured I would also prepare a brief overview of how the Canadian broadcasters I’m following are doing with their over-the-air transition plans.
Interestingly, a cable company (Shaw Communication Inc.) has prepared the most comprehensive over-the-air transition plan to date as per its CRTC-approved purchase of CanWest Global’s television properties. Shaw has committed to convert 67 of Global’s analog transmitters to digital. In addition, Shaw will “provide and install a satellite receiver and dish, at no charge, to viewers who lose access to the over-the-air signals of their local or regional television stations as of August 31, 2011, as well as free satellite access to those signals”.
As for the nation’s bilingual public broadcaster, CBC/Radio-Canada announced in August that it will not meet the CRTC’s over-the-air digital television transition deadline. Instead, CBC/Radio-Canada will only have 15 of the 27 mandatory markets transitioned to digital by August 31, 2011. To my knowledge, the CRTC has yet to respond to either the public broadcaster’s August announced or its request to continue in analog in the remaining mandatory markets until August 31, 2012 in cities that include Halifax (English) and Vancouver (French). No word with regards to the status of CBC/Radio-Canada’s other 550+ analog television transmitters.
Provincially, TVOntario appears to be the furthest behind. With 8 months to go to the transition, TVO has yet to start broadcasting in digital in ANY of its 6 mandatory markets ( Toronto/Barrie/Hamilton, Kitchener, London, Windsor, Ottawa and Thunder Bay). As far as I know, TVO is still waiting to hear back from the Ontario Ministry of Education regarding their request for additional funding to also convert Belleville, Cloyne and Chatham to digital.
Also, for 2011, it would be really great if you could spruce up Canadian Heritage’s digital television transition information site. While its text-only design is well suited to rural Canadians accessing the platform via dial-up internet, it could be beefed up a bit in terms of information.
Oh, and don’t forget to submit your comments regarding the DTV transition PSAs to the CRTC by Jan 11.