Dear Minister Glover,
I received a curious blog comment this week from a woman named Sherry.
“(W)hy is Clinton,BC allowed to install LTSS for the next 4 days and no one else is allowed???”, said Sherry.
After noting to Sherry that Shaw stopped accepting new LTSS subscribers (early) back on Aug 31/14 (with permission from the CRTC), I suggested that it must be a scam if some guy had called her saying Canadians can still be signed up to the LTSS (Local Television Satellite Solution).
Sherry insisted it was real. “I dont think its a scam and if I lived in the right district I would be getting it now”, she commented.
Turns out Sherry was right. It wasn’t a scam and if she lived in the right district she may very well be getting the OK from Shaw to sign up to the LTSS after the deadline.
The “right district” is the Thompson-Nicola Regional District (TNRD) in British Columbia (see the above-posted map with the Survivor-esque logo) and the guy who had been making the calls is Ron Storie, Manager of Community Services for the TNRD.
As noted on the TNRD website “(r)egional districts are local government authorities unique to British Columbia that exist to meet certain local government service needs that neither municipalities nor the province are well-suited to address”. Since at least the 1970s, one of the services that the TNRD supplied was analogue television rebroadcasts. According to Storie, for anywhere from approximately $30/year to $0/year in taxes, residents of the TNRD received a basic selection of otherwise unavailable over-the-air analogue TV rebroadcasts signals.
With the coming (and going) of Canada’s so-called digital television transition of 2011-2012, the TNRD figured they too would shut down their analogue OTA TV service by 2014-2015 since only 1.5%-3% of the residents, according to Storie, still depended on it.
The only (big) snag was that, just as the TNRD was taking out ads in local papers explaining that their funding of the analogue TV rebroadcasts would end and that viewers could apply to a no-fee basic satellite TV program from Shaw (that John White of the Clinton and District TV Society had recommended to the TNRD after reading about it on this here Dude TV blog), Shaw stopped accepting new LTSS subscriptions prior to the Nov 30/14 deadline.
After many phone calls and the possible involvement of a MP, Ron Storie has managed to get (as of today) 126 TNRD households signed up to Shaw’s LTSS, post-deadline.
While it sounds like Ron Storie is ready to return to his normal duties such as managing the upkeep of local graveyards, I think it’s pretty darn cool that he got Shaw, post-deadline, to provide basic no-fee TV to many of the fixed-income residents whom he serves. Don Cherry owes him a thumbs up this Saturday night.
The question I’m left with is why doesn’t Canada have more Ron Stories? I know from this blog that there are TV viewers like Sherry all across Canada seeking fair access to their television broadcast system in the digital age.