DAILY NEWS Jul 17, 2024 8:35 AM - 2 comments

CACTUS Asks for Consultation Before Shutting Down CBC Transmission Sites

TEXT SIZE bigger text smaller text

More than 2024 individual Canadians, community organizations, MPs and municipalities have written to the CRTC to ask that they be consulted about what happens to CBC transmission sites in their communities.

In response to federal cuts, the CBC and Radio-Canada announced in April that they plan to switch off more than 623 analog transmitters on July 31, 2024. Canadians outside major cities and provincial and territorial capitals will lose free access to the CBC and Radio-Canada over the air using bunny ears or rooftop antennae.

Getting the CBC and Radio-Canada’s signals to all Canadians living in communities of at least 500 people was a major policy goal in the 1970s to link the country coast to coast. This transmission infrastructure is worth millions and has already been paid for by Canadian taxpayers. Rather than being scrapped, it could be maintained by communities themselves. The transmitters and towers can be used not just to continue free TV service, but also to set up local wireless Internet or mobile service, or a community TV or radio service.

The CRTC has begun a public consultation on the CBC’s plan. CACTUS urged town and band councils, community colleges, community media groups and concerned citizens to ask the CRTC and CBC before the June 18th dead line to make the transmission equipment available for local use.

Of the more than 2200 individuals and groups that responded, 1549 live in or near large urban centres where CBC service will continue. They empathized with their rural countrymates and urged that CBC infrastructure be offered to communities slated to lose service.

Of the 619 respondents from communities that are slated for service loss, the table that follows shows where they live and the location of the CBC transmitter that serves them. Of the 623 analog transmission sites that the CBC proposes to shut down, communities intervened regarding 216 of them. They asked that the infrastructure be offered to communities to maintain, that they be upgraded to digital, or that CBC TV service be multiplexed with an existing digital transmitter that is operational in the community.

Despite this overwhelming willingness of Canadians to work with the CBC to keep their TV signals free, the CBC has stated that it is not planning to consult affected communities and wants “fair market value” for its equipment, even if communities are willing to maintain it. In one instance (Penticton), a school board and local ISP representative was told that he could obtain the CBC's otherwise useless analog transmitter for over $80,000!

In the weeks ahead, CACTUS will keep track of the progress being made in each community. If and when roadblocks arise, we will flag them for the affected government agencies.

Just because the remaining transmitters have not been specifically requested by communities does not mean they don't want them. The CBC conducted no outreach to affected communities when the CRTC consultation was open for public comment. The particular Canadians and communities that participated heard about the proposed shutdown through CACTUS, the press, or partner organizations whose representation across the country is uneven. We note in particular the low response rate in Quebec where we and our predominantly anglophone partner organizations have few members, and Newfoundland, where broadband Internet penetration is the lowest in the country (our campaign was conducted primarily via the Internet). Public awareness in Newfoundland is of particular concern, since more than a third of the transmission sites slated for shutdown by the CBC are in Newfoundland.

Nonetheless, the high response rate among Canadians who are slated to lose service, Canadians for whom service will continue, and also 84 Canadians who are already without free over-the-air-access to CBC TV (i.e. they currently fall between service-area contours) vouches for the importance of the issue of fair and equitable access to the national broadcaster by all Canadians.

This strong response suggests that a thorough campaign of outreach by the CBC in affected areas using its television service would likely result in requests that the CBC consult with communities about their options in most of the 623 service areas slated to be decommissioned.

We use as a benchmark the two-year Heritage Lighthouse Program in which the federal government advertised the availability of heritage lighthouses for community maintenance for two years before finally shutting down only those that communities could not or did not wish to maintain.

What is clear is that with over 2024 letters to the CRTC, shutting down the CBC's entire analog TV distribution network should not have been filed as a "Part 1 application" for expedited consideration. It should be examined as a part of the CBC's full licence renewal in November of 2024.

We encourage all individuals concerned about continuing CBC access in their communities to contact us regarding next steps.

Transmitter Location Community or Interested Group Solution Sought Stage in Process

Aberta and Saskatchewan First Nations Technical Services all 57 sites with towers has contacted CBC

Alert Bay BC residents of Galiano Island analog transmitter

Bamfield BC Bamfield Community ISP analog transmitter lease arranged with 3rd party tower owner; awaiting reply from CBC

Banff AB resident of Banff analog transmitter

Barrie, ON residents of Owen Sound, Perkinsfield, Desboro, Hanover and Barrie digital upgrade

Bella Coola, BC residents of Bella Coola analog transmitter

Bonnington Falls BC residents of South Slocan analog transmitter and tower

Burns Lake (CBCY-TV-1) BC (shown on CBC contour diagrams on current web site but absent from 2024-0509-7 application?) resident of Burns Lake whatever's there

British Columbia BC Broadband Ass. 12 CBC-owned towers

Calgary, AB Fédération des communautés francophones et acadiennes (FCFA) and Commissioner of Official Languages multiplex Radio-Canada

Campbell River, BC residents of Campbell River, Quathiaski Cove, and Manson's Landing analog transmitter

Campbellton, NB residents of Campbellton analog transmitter and tower

Canmore AB residents of Canmore analog transmitter

Castlegar, BC residents of Castlegar Inonoaklin Valleys analog transmitter and tower

Charlottetown, PEI Fédération des communautés francophones et acadienne (FCFA) and Commissioner of Official Languages multiplex Radio-Canada

Cheticamp NS residents of Cheticamp and Margaree Forks analog transmitter and tower

Coronation AB resident of Coronation analog transmitter

Cranbrook BC residents of Cranbrook, Jaffray and Kimberley analog transmitter

Crawford Bay BC residents of Kaslo and Ainsworth analog transmitter

Crescent Valley BC residents of Crescent Valley analog transmitter

Creston, BC residents of Creston, BC analog transmitter

Dauphin MB City of Dauphin analog transmitter and tower

Digby NS Residents of Annopolis Royal analog transmitters and tower

Elliot Lake ON Residents of Elliot Lake analog transmitters and tower

Flin Flon MB residents of Flin Flon analog transmitter

Fort Smith, NT resident of Fort Smith analog transmitter and tower

Foymount ON resident of Foymount analog transmitter

Fredericton, NB Residents and the City of Fredericton and Fédération des communautés francophones et acadienne (FCFA), Commissioner of Official Languages multiplex Radio-Canada

Gaspe, QC resident of Gaspe analog transmitter and tower

Golden, BC resident of Golden analog transmitter

Goose Bay LAB resident of North West River analog transmitter

Grande Prairie, AB Municipal District of Spirit River and residents of Demmitt and Grande Prairie analog transmitter and tower

Grand Forks BC residents of Grand Forks analog transmitter

Greenwood BC residents of Greenwood, Anaconda, Christina Lake analog transmitter

Greenwater Lake SK residents of Archerwill, Porcupine Plains and Wadena analog transmitter and tower

Hagensborg, BC residents of Hagensborg analog transmitter

Halifax, NS Fédération des communautés francophones et acadienne (FCFA) and Commissioner of Official Languages multiplex Radio-Canada

Harrison Hot Springs BC residents of Harrison Hot Springs analog transmitter

Hay River, NWT Hay River Community TV and residents of Hay River analog transmitter in negotiations with CBC

High Prairie, AB Municipal District of Smoky River analog transmitter and tower

Huntsville ON residents of Bala, Milford Bay, Shelburne, Bracebridge, Emsdale, Severn Bridge and Huntsville analog transmitter and tower

Invermere BC resident of Invermere analog transmitter

Inverness NS residents of Margaree Forks and Orangedale analog transmitter and tower

Jasper BC resident of Jasper analog transmitter

Jonquieres QC resident of La Baie multiplex CBC English

Kamloops BC residents of Bridge Lake and Kamloops analog transmitter

Kearns ON residents of Kirkland Lake and New Liskeard analog transmitter

Kelowna BC residents of Coldstream, Kelowna, Lumby, Westbank and Oyama analog transmitter

Kenora, ON residents of Keewatin and Kenora analog transmitter and tower

Kitchener, ON residents of New Britain, Brownsburg, Elora, Kitchener, Cambridge, Waterloo, Bloomingdale, Stratford, Burgessville, Drumbo analog transmitter and tower

Lac du Bonnet MB resident of Victoria Beach analog transmitter and tower

Lake Louise AB resident of Lake Louise analog transmitter

Le Pas MB residents of Le Pas analog transmitter

Lethbridge AB City and residents of Lethbridge, Coaldale, Vauxhall and Champion Municipal Library digital upgrade

Little Current ON Residents of Gore Bay, Kagawong, Mindemoya analog transmitter and tower

London ON City of London, residents of St. Thomas, Ilderton Kilworth, Sparta, St. Mary's, Delhi, Denfield and London digital upgrade

Mabou NS resident of Mabou analog transmitter and tower

Madeira BC Sunshine Coast CAP site analog transmitter

Maniwaki, QC Indigenous Culture and Media Innovations analog transmitter and tower has contacted CBC; no reply

Marathon, ON resident of Terrace Bay analog transmitter

Margaree NS residents of Margaree Forks analog transmitter and tower

Matane QC resident of Matane analog transmitter and tower

Meadow Lake, SK Makwa (First Nations) analog transmitter and tower

Middle River NS residents of Baddeck analog transmitter and tower

Moncton NB City and residents of Moncton, Shediac River, Markhamville, Indian Mountain and Commissioner of Official Languages multiplex English CBC

Moose Jaw SK residents of Caronport and Tugaske analog transmitter and tower

Mulgrave NS residents of Antigonish, Canso, Dover, Linwood, Port Hawkesbury analog transmitter

Murdochville, QC CAP (CACI) site of Mont-Louis and Gros-Morne analog transmitter

Nelson, BC residents of Nelson and Inonoaklin Valley analog transmitter

Newcastle NB residents of Glenwood and Miramichi analog transmitter and tower

New Denver BC resident of Silverton analog transmitter

New Glasgow NS Municipality and residents of New Glasgow analog transmitter and tower has left voicemail and e-mail messages for CBC; no reply received

New Richmond QC residents of New Richmond analog transmitter and tower

Nipigon ON (CBLK-TV); provided on CBC web site, but not listed in 2024-0509-7 resident of Nipigon whatever's available

Normandale ON resident of Port Dover analog transmitter and tower

North Bay ON residents of North Bay and Sundridge analog transmitter

Nova Scotia Province of NS Broadband Project Office any of 26 CBC-owned towers in NS

Parry Sound ON resident of Parry Sound analog transmitter

Osoyoos BC resident of Oliver analog transmitter

Peace River, AB residents of Peace River analog transmitter and tower

Pemberton, BC residents of Pemberton and Base Technology Ltd. (community-based ISP) analog transmitter

Pembroke, ON residents of Cobden, Deep River and Pembroke analog transmitter and tower

Penticton, BC residents of Penticton, Peachland, Summerland and the Penticton School District and Community ISP analog transmitter CBC wants $80,000

Peterborough ON resident of Lindsay analog transmitter

Ponteix SK resident of Val Marie analog transmitter and tower

Port Alberni BC? residents of Comox, Qualicum Beach and Port Alberni analog transmitter and tower

Port Hardy, BC resident of Sointula analog transmitter

Prince Albert, SK residents of Shellbrook, Prince Albert, Cudworth, Melfort analog transmitter

Prince George, BC residents of Prince George analog transmitter and tower

Princeton, BC resident of Princeton analog transmitter

Quebec, QC Residents of Quebec, Courcelette and Commissioner of Official Languages multiplex English service

Red Deer AB residents of Red Deer, Lacombe and Sylvan Lake analog transmitter and tower

Revelstoke BC residents of Revelstoke analog transmitter

Rock Creek BC resident of Rock Creek analog transmitter and tower

Rosemary AB resident of Rosebud analog transmitter and tower

Rossland BC resident of Rossland analog transmitter

Saint-Augustin QC resident of Saguenay analog transmitter

Saint John City of Saint John and residents of Rothesay, Markhamville, Bayside digital upgrade

Salmon Arm BC residents of Coldstream, Salmon Arm, Lumby and Tappen analog transmitter

Sarnia, ON residents of Inwood, Camlachie, Sarnia analog transmitter and tower

Saskatoon, SK residents of Saskatoon Hanley digital upgrade

Sault Ste. Marie ON Residents of Sault Ste. Marie, the SSM Innovation Centre and Municipality of St. Joseph analog transmitter

Sayward BC Residents of Sayward analog transmitter

Sechelt BC Sunshine Coast CAP site and residents analog transmitter

Sheet Harbour NS resident of Moser Bay analog transmitter and tower

Shelburne NS resident of Shelburne analog transmitter and tower

Sherbrooke QC residents of Sherbrooke, Hatley, North Hatley, Magog, Sawyerville and Commissioner of Official Languages multiplex English service

Slocan BC residents of Slocan analog transmitter

Smithers(CBCY-TV-5) BC (shown on CBC contour diagrams on current web site but absent from 2024-0509-7 application?) residents of Smithers whatever's there

Sooke BC residents of Sooke analog transmitter

Squamish BC residents of Squamish and Base Technology Ltd. (community-based ISP) analog transmitter

Stanraer SK resident of Duperow analog transmitter

St. John’s NL Fédération des communautés francophones et acadienne (FCFA) and Commissioner of Official Languages multiplex Radio-Canada

Sudbury ON residents of Sudbury, Hanmer, Noelville and Worthington analog transmitter

Swift Current SK residents of Swift Current analog transmitter and tower

Sydney NS residents of Sydney and Margaree Forks analog transmitter and tower

Terrace BC residents of Terrace and Kitimat analog transmitter and tower

Thompson MB resident of Thompson analog transmitter

Timmins ON residents of Kirkland Lake and South Porcupine analog transmitter

Tofino BC resident of Tofino analog transmitter

Truro NS residents of Truro and Brookfield analog transmitter and tower

Valemount BC Valemount Entertainment Society analog transmitter in negotiations with CBC

Vernon BC residents of Coldstream, Vernon and Oyama analog transmitter

Warmley SK residents of Maryfield and Windthorst analog transmitter and tower

Whistler BC Base Technology Ltd. (community-based ISP) analog transmitter

Whitecourt AB resident of Edson analog transmitter

Whitehorse YT residents of Carcross and Whitehorse analog transmitter

Whycocomagh NS resident of Orangedale analog transmitter

Wiarton ON residents of Feversham, Wiarton, Lion's Head, Meaford, Markdale and Owen Sound analog transmitter and tower

Windsor, ON Residents of Windsor and surrounding areas, Joe Comartin, MP and Fédération des communautés francophones et acadienne (FCFA) and Commissioner of Official Languages multiplex Radio-Canada

Wingham ON residents of Clifford, Goderich, Gorrie, Harriston, and Markdale analog transmitter

Winlaw BC residents of Winlaw, BC analog transmitter

Wynyard SK residents of Wadena and Wynyard analog transmitter

Yarmouth NS resident of Yarmouth analog transmitter and tower

Yorkton SK resident of Springside analog transmitter and tower

All 7 transmission sites (7 transmitters, 3 towers) in Yukon Yukon territorial government wants service to continue

Community rebroadcasting is already a reality for more than 100 Canadian communities. Valemont, BC (population: 1400), rebroadcasts six TV channels (including a local community channel) and three radio channels. Residents pay $40 per household per year for the service.

Horizontal ruler

Reader Comments

Most recent firstOldest first

Gary Hunter

Almost $1 billion in public subsidy and CBC can't maintain analog service in rural Canada? How come Shaw seems to have no problem continuing to provide a strong over-air signal in Rossland, B.C. ? If communities are going to have to pay for transmitters will they also get a share of the revenue from those same structures that are rented out to cell phone providers? Shame on you CBC. How about one less vice-president instead?

Posted August 2, 2024 03:41 PM

Colin Barber

We have enjoyed CBC broadcasts all these years through an outdoor antenna just south of Grande Prairie. We have no desire to subscribe to over prices , trash filled subscription services and in our rural area , cable isn't even available. If I'm reading this right , the CRTC once again has shown it's impotence and CBC is actually shutting down services to all those communities listed in the article , forcing people to subscribe to a Rogers/Telus/Shaw service or stop watching CBC.

Posted August 1, 2024 11:46 PM

Horizontal Ruler

Post A Comment

Note: By submitting your comments you acknowledge that BroadCaster Magazine has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Please note that due to the volume of e-mails we receive, not all comments will be published and those that are published will not be edited. However, all will be carefully read, considered and appreciated.

Your Name (this will appear with your post) *

Email Address (will not be published) *

Comments *

* mandatory fields