Dude, Where’s My CBC TV?: Can CBC Legally Stop OTA TV Broadcasting Outside Mandatory Digital Markets?

Photo: Charles de Martigny
Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

Dear Minister  Moore,

Writing with regards to yesterday’s response by  CBC/Radio-Canada (CBC) to your DRAP funding cuts.

Part of CBC’s plan is to cease all analogue television broadcasting on July 31, 2012.

That means there will be no over-the-air (OTA) CBC TV available outside mandatory digital markets in Canada after July.

I’m all for shutting down CBC’s analogue TV transmitters. That was actually to be done back in August, 2011.

The problem I have is with not replacing them with digital TV transmitters.

Here’s my $115 million question:

Is it even legal, under the Broadcasting Act, for CBC to stop OTA TV broadcasting outside mandatory digital markets?

If CBC was a private TV broadcaster, sure, no problem. Go ahead and stop. Sun News Network did it last year.

Thing is, CBC isn’t a private broadcaster. It’s a public broadcaster and has special duties. Ask Her Majesty.

If CBC was providing the 1.7 % (a suspect figure, BTW) of its analogue OTA TV viewers with other ways of watching CBC TV, that would be fine. They aren’t though.

The 1.7% are Canadian citizens and are legally entitled to access to CBC TV without having to pay any additional fees.

That’s the way I see it, anyway.

You?

Steven

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