Community Manager gets Shaw to (briefly) re-open LTSS

Source: tnrd.ca

Source: tnrd.ca

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.

Steven

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Part II: Select LTSSers Required to Buy New Receiver to watch SRC

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Image Source: Shaw Direct

Dear Minister Glover,

Called Shaw Direct again tonight about SRC Ottawa (704) with a great solution c/o of Dad.

Since he can no longer receive 704 due to changes to the ANIK F2 satellite, why doesn’t Shaw just send us SRC Montreal (701) instead? It won’t be as local as Ottawa but it’s closer than CBC Toronto.

Shaw declined to make the change under a LTSS subscription donc, Dad has to go without access to SRC.

Time to complain to the CRTC (again), I guess.

Steven

 

 

 

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Part I: Select LTSSers Required to Buy New Receiver to watch SRC

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Dear Minister Glover,

I hope you had a nice Thanksgiving.

Writing with regards to a troubling development related to Shaw Direct’s Local Television Satellite Solution (LTSS) program.

My dad mentioned to me recently that he could no longer watch Télé de Radio-Canada (aka SRC) via his no-fee LTSS subscription.  I checked it out and sure enough, when you try to watch the station it rejects your request.

I tried re-flashing the signal and unplugging the receiver but no dice. Nothing would get back SRC Ottawa/Gatineau. I finally decided to call Shaw tonight (waiting until after Saturday night’s HNIC Leafs game via CBC via Rogers which still works just in case tech support’s efforts to restore SRC impacted CBC reception).

At first, I was told that SRC was not included under the LTSS program. I corrected the customer service rep and advised that the station had been part of my dad’s basic channels provided by the LTSS since it was first hooked up. I also mentioned that my understanding is that ANY BDU service in Canada, even the LTSS, must carry at least one CBC TV station and one Radio-Canada TV station.

After trying to remotely re-flash the receiver again and having me get on my hands and knees (no pun intended) to unplug it again, the rep put me on hold. The rep returned with the answer. Apparently (you always have to take anything a Shaw Direct rep tells a LTSSer with a grain of salt), the compression of some of the SRC stations on the ANIK F2 satellite has changed and a new receiver is required in order to receive Ottawa/Gatineau and Vancouver SRC. SRC Montreal and SRC Moncton are currently unaffected, I was told.

I asked why this had happened and the rep said that Shaw doesn’t own the satellite and that the owners made the change.

The receiver that is required to receive SRC Ottawa/Gatineau (704) and SRC Vancouver (702) is the Motorola DSR 600, I was told. As noted in the LTSS application, subscribers are given one receiver with the installation and after that subscribers have to pay for any replacement receivers. The rep said the new receiver normally costs $200 but is on sale by Shaw for $99. I believe you can also rent them from Shaw. While the DSR 600 is an HD receiver, the rep confirmed that the LTSS service will remain SD.

When I mentioned to the rep that the change was disappointing, the rep noted that my dad did have a rather old receiver. I agreed with the rep entirely and noted that the refurbished Star Choice receiver was sent by Shaw as part of the initial LTSS hook-up.

Is this the beginning of the end of Shaw’s LTSS? Who/what will replace the LTSS?

Steven

 

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Unlike Netflix, the CRTC has a duty to serve Canada

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Chairman Blais becoming cross with Corie Wright’s Netflix at the Let’s Talk TV hearing. Source: CPAC.


We haven’t made any decisions, we are not leaning in any particular direction, but some parties in this proceeding have raised some issues and it’s our duty to examine those. And it’s a fact-based issue and in fact some of the facts we are requesting may actually support Netflix’ argument.  
– CRTC Chairman Blais, September 19, 2014 (Source: CRTC)

Dear Minister Glover,

I know how you like to comment on Netflix regulation so hopefully you will find this post of value.

The results of the CRTC vs. Netflix September Blowout at the Let’s Talk TV hearing a few weeks ago has left the Commission holding the regulatory bag. That sits just fine with me.

As the Chairman noted to Netflix’s Corie Wright on the 19th of September, the CRTC has a duty to ask Netflix the questions it asked and also to request the data sets that the Commission requested. If Netflix chooses not to answer or to provide information, that’s up to them.

I don’t feel that the CRTC did anything wrong in terms of dealing with Netflix at the hearing. They poked at Netflix to see what would ooze out.  That’s the CRTC’s duty.

Steven

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1 week left to apply to Shaw’s Local Television Satellite Solution

Beam image via Shaw Direct.

Dear Minister Glover,

A quick reminder that Canadians have one week left to apply to Shaw’s Local Television Satellite Solution.

Question is, was it worth it?

Steven

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The CRTC decides when the LTSS ends, not Shaw

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This is when KvF told us interveners not to fret about diluted OTA coverage in 2011.

Dear Minister Glover,

Shaw announced this week that its Local Television Satellite Solution (LTSS) program will end on August 31, 2019.

Problem is, Shaw doesn’t have the authority to make such a decision. Only the CRTC does.

While it is true that the CRTC requires Shaw to offer the LTSS program until its next licence renewal of August 31, 2019, nowhere in the decision related to the program does it say that the LTSS will end on that date.

The CRTC may very well decide that Shaw should be required to continue offering the LTSS service to Canadians beyond August 31, 2019.

Best,

Steven

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Phase 3 of Let’s Talk TV: Broadcasting Notice of Consultation CRTC 2014-190

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Look how hard the CRTC is workin’ for your TV! Photo credit: CRTC.

Dear Minister Glover,

Long time.

As part of Phase 3 of the CRTC’s “Talk TV” initiative, the Commission is asking Canadians about the value of OTA TV in Canada with respect to access to local TV stations and whether OTA is needed any longer.

The deadline to file a comment is June 25, 2014.

Here is the question they are asking about OTA:

“Q24. Is regulatory intervention necessary to maintain access to local television stations and, if so, how could this best be achieved? Given that the vast majority of Canadians receive television services through a cable or satellite subscription, are there compelling reasons to maintain and support OTA transmission? Would the discontinuation of OTA transmission allow local television stations to devote more resources to programming? If the Commission determines that OTA transmission should no longer be required, under what timeframe should this be implemented?”

Please encourage Canadians to comment here. I suggest OTA TV viewers include specific examples of how OTA TV personally helps them access local TV, and/or, how a lack of OTA TV restrains their access to local TV.

Best,

Steven

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