Industry Canada puts moratorium on new TV transmitters as it considers slashing its spectrum in half

It’s a long technical document released as part of a series of measures billed as supporting competition in Canada’s wireless industry, but the Canadian government is laying the groundwork for decisions that could radically alter the future of over-the-air television broadcasting … again.

It’s called “Consultation on Repurposing the 600 MHz Band“, and is a document seeking public comments on joining a U.S. plan to repurpose more television channels for use as commercial wireless frequencies, forcing remaining television stations to be packed into fewer available channels.

Re-allocation could affect as many as 24 channels used for television.

Re-allocation could affect as many as 24 channels used for television.

Depending on how the U.S. moves, it could mean as many as half of the remaining channels used for over-the-air television could disappear by 2017.

The U.S. is undergoing a two-step auction process to recapture frequency in the 600 MHz band, which is used by the higher-end television channels (up to channel 51). The first step is an “incentive auction”, in which TV stations using those channels name the price they have to be paid to move off of them and give up the spectrum — a figure that could be millions or even hundreds of millions, depending on the value of that spectrum. Then, based on how many stations participate, the government re-allocates the frequencies and auctions them off to wireless companies.

Industry Canada is basically proposing that Canada join that process, though the details are unclear.

What we do know is that if the maximum re-allocation plan is used, all TV channels above 26 would disappear, and stations on those channels, whether they’re full-power stations or low-power ones, would have to move off of them as new licensees begin deploying their networks. (Channel 37 is reserved for radio astronomy, and would remain so under the new plan.)

Canada and the U.S. went through a similar process a few years ago, reallocating channels 52-69 for mobile use (the 700 MHz spectrum) during the digital television transition. The subsequent auction gave Canada more than $5 billion in revenue.

Industry Canada points out that the number of television transmitters in Canada has been stable over the past few years. With over-the-air stations relying on advertising alone for revenue, there has been little growth there. Instead, anyone with a new idea has been pushing subscription cable channels instead.

Coordination issues

But squeezing existing stations into a smaller space will still present significant coordination problems. Stations on channels 27 and above would need to be moved over, and that would mean packing stations in tighter than was proposed in the DTV transition plan. Industry Canada has proposed basing coordination on existing transmission parameters instead of maximum parameters to help that a bit, which would mean stations that aren’t taking full advantage of the coverage of their class might lose the chance to expand later.

The ministry predicts most stations — even those not currently using those higher channels — would need to change frequency as a result of this new plan, though it predicts most stations would at least be able to stay in the same range of frequencies, and use the same antennas they do now.

In Montreal, for example, Canal Savoir (CFTU-DT 29), V (CFJP-DT 35), ICI (CFHD-DT 47) and City (CJNT-DT 49) might need to change channels under a new plan. And while there are channels available (Montreal has 10 over-the-air stations), it might mean being on the same channel as a station in a nearby market like Trois-Rivières, Sherbrooke or Burlington. Over-the-air TV viewers who count on receiving U.S. stations would probably find it very difficult as they too would have to move to lower channels and either be on the same channel or immediately adjacent to a Montreal station.

Industry Canada says it would coordinate with the U.S. to make avoiding interference problems easier.

Low-power stations, and stations in remote communities, who were largely exempt from the DTV transition rules, could also be forced to change channels and/or replace their analog transmitters with digital ones. Industry Canada says there are 551 low-power stations in Canada. Most of them wouldn’t need to change channel.

Moratorium

In light of this, Industry Canada has imposed a moratorium on all new television transmitter applications and applications to modify existing stations so that they increase their coverage or change their channel.

An appendix lists only 11 applications for full-power stations and six for low-power stations that were in progress in October. Most of those are related to a promise Shaw made when it purchased Global TV to convert all its transmitters to digital by 2015 (and Global BC has a lot of transmitters to convert).

The fact that such a moratorium could be imposed without causing much disruption should say a lot about the future of over-the-air television. This policy change would make it much more difficult to start new stations, particularly in large markets. But as we’ve seen, there’s very little demand for that.

Industry Canada is accepting comments on the proposal until Jan. 26. People interested in making them can follow the procedure outlined on this page. All comments form part of the public record.

UPDATE (Jan. 15): If you have complaints, comments or other information you want to offer to Industry Canada on this subject, the department has asked that you email spectrum.auctions@ic.gc.ca.

353 thoughts on “Industry Canada puts moratorium on new TV transmitters as it considers slashing its spectrum in half

  1. ClearChannel

    I have been researching cities in the United States for over-the-air TV channels from AOL.com. I looked at New York City and Miami. Dozens of channels available at both cities, all these places with so many channels available puts Canada to shame. I haven’t done a channel count for those two cities but the listing is similar to what I saw for Chicago.

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  2. Greg

    There is an impressive large amount of insight and commentary here.

    I suggest that CRTC be pushed to re-frame the discussion and open up the possible uses of this spectrum to others besides those entrenched behemoths of the broadcasting industry and the mobile phone industry. How about reserving some of this spectrum for unlicensed or lightly licensed use such as the ultra successful wifi?

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  3. ClearChannel

    I spent three days in Markham just outside Toronto in September and I didn’t see one condo building with a rooftop antenna. Dilbert mentioned that condo projects generally forbid the use of antennas. My question is are those decisions made for purely aesthetic reasons or do those condo projects have a vested interest in the local cable company?

    I was researching the use of antennas on condos in Los Angeles and came across this statement; “According to federal Law and the FCC no housing authority or owner of apartment complexes can stop someone from putting up their own antenna as long as it does no structural damage to the building.
    They have a right to use equipment to receive free OTA TV signals. Very interesting, only in America you say? Pity.

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      1. ClearChannel

        Yes, a window or balcony antenna may pull in a few stations. A friend of mine in Greenfield Park in an apartment on the 3rd floor facing the States with an amplified indoor antenna gets quite a few of the American channels but has difficulty getting some of our local stations. If they put a couple of antennas on the roof and with the equipment available, distribution amplifiers etc. they could serve every apartment in that building.

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        1. Ian

          My antenna is on an enclosed balcony behind double-pane windows AND it’s not even facing Buffalo or the CN Tower but getting bounced signals off of a nearby building. Get about 25 channels.

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    1. Dilbert

      I can tell you from my experience in Toronto is that the condo bylaws forbid any antennas or external devices (such as weather stations, cameras, or the like) where the device has to be attached to the building in any manner, or that a wire has to go into the building. The outside surface of the building is a “common area” and as such, the uses of the common area are “restricted”.

      Most people don’t realize that even balconies on a condo project are “common areas”, with an exclusive use clause given to the unit owner. Therefore, you cannot actually install anything on the balcony, as it is a common area. In Montreal, this clause is often used to forbid BBQs and satellite dishes.

      So what happens is that you can have an antenna INSIDE your condo if you want. It generally won’t do you much good, considering the walls are rebar reinforced concrete, which can really kill the incoming signal, and the windows are often treated with an anti-UV covering that also diminishes signals. I have tested this with a Bell dish, where the “window open” signal would be 90, and the window closed would be 30-40… below the minimum to get the signal.

      In Toronto, many of the condo developers sign exclusive arrangements with Rogers, with Rogers doing the cabling in the building and providing the door intercom / security system, in return for being “exclusive” to the building. Rogers even provides a method by which a normal phone line can be activated, but that no data signal or “Fibe” style service can make it to the units. Bell is contesting this in front of the CRTC, and also complaining about Condo owners who are over charging them for the “right” to put cable in their buildings.

      Greedy condo builders are looking for a way to make money. They are holding the public hostage.

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  4. ClearChannel

    The playing field is not entirely level as a good percentage of the Canadian population is being denied access to OTA signals. It’s not like in the States where there is a federal Law and the FCC guaranteeing it’s citizens the right to put up an antenna regardless of where they live. Canada has a long way to go in this regard. We like to pride ourselves as being different than the Americans and perhaps have better social programs but when considering OTA, the Americans are light years ahead of us.

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  5. ClearChannel

    The key to survival of OTA in Canada is education. The population needs to be informed on this alternative to Pay TV and in my experience most people haven’t a clue. Do as I have done, complain to the CRTC and Industry Canada. Write your Federal MP and the Prime Minister’s office. Driving around the Verdun and Ville La Salle areas this morning I realized that there are literally thousands of homes that could be putting up antennas and these are prime signal areas. Instead I saw only the individual antenna here and there. If enough people are informed then there would be a push for new laws in this country perhaps matching what currently exists in the United States. Wherever I go and meet people and there is a conversation about television in general, I bring up the subject of over-the-air or broadcast television. I do the best I can to inform people of the 3rd alternative. If people after being fully informed about OTA want to remain with Pay TV that is fine, that is their choice. At least make information about OTA available to everyone and allow equal access to OTA and let the consumers make their own choices.

    As an example of OTA’s past glory so to speak, Pulse News and CFCF channel 12 the 1 to 2 watch have faded in people’s memories. This is only the tip of the iceberg in the damage caused by companies like “Bell”.

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  6. ClearChannel

    In flipping the coin so to speak, I looked into the background of the current FCC chairman to get an idea what is transpiring there. The current chairman there is Tom Wheeler. I only looked at his background briefly but I found something very interesting and pertinent to this discussion. Mr. Wheeler worked as a “Lobbyist for the cable and wireless industries”. This goes a long way to explaining the current issue of re-allocation of spectrum and with Canada’s “Monkey see Monkey do” policy, getting them to come up with an alternative won’t be easy.

    So, aside from Industry Canada, the CRTC, your Federal MP and the Prime Minister’s office to email complaints to you can now add Tom Wheeler to that list. You can email him at tom.wheeler@fcc.gov If you don’t want to see any changes to broadcast television that will impact it negatively, complain as often as you can.

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    1. Fagstein Post author

      I only looked at his background briefly but I found something very interesting and pertinent to this discussion. Mr. Wheeler worked as a “Lobbyist for the cable and wireless industries”. This goes a long way to explaining the current issue of re-allocation of spectrum and with Canada’s “Monkey see Monkey do” policy, getting them to come up with an alternative won’t be easy.

      Keep in mind that it’s the U.S. Congress, not the FCC chairman, that decided on this reallocation plan. The FCC has some control over how it’s administered (and has already been accused of exceeding that latitude), but can’t stop it entirely.

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  7. ClearChannel

    I was driving around town in this ice storm and arrived home in time for the six O’clock news I thought on CFCF 12. No dice, they were showing a football game ! You’d think that with this bad weather and trees coming down everywhere from all that ice and the power blackouts that they would air the local evening news. They could put it on 12.2 if they think that a football game takes priority over something that is important locally. At least Global has the good sense to run the local evening news at six. CTV has gone downhill as far as I’m concerned when they can’t get their priorities straight.

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  8. ClearChannel

    Another angle to this subject that hasn’t been discussed is the antenna itself. Channels 2 to 6 have largely been vacated and in the last several years the antennas have been made for channels 7 to 69. If they reduce spectrum there may be a move to go back to the Lo-VHF band again. That means that people will have to buy full spectrum antennas again.

    As for the U.S. Congress, you can also raise up this issue with the White House and your opinions will be received by the President. It might work and it might not but it’s worth a try.

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  9. ClearChannel

    Another comment I would like to make, we have just been through another ice storm. I was in Verdun and parts of La Salle on Sunday, trees were down everywhere and some streets were blocked and cars and property were damaged. I got home before the six O’clock news but what was channel 12 showing ? A football game. At least Global had enough good sense to have the local news on. If they used sub-channels here they could have the news and other programming as well as the game. An important local news story was happening and they couldn’t deliver.

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  10. ClearChannel

    E-mails sent to the FCC are referred to the “Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau” – the CGB. I asked them about the issue of channels 2 to 6 as that can be another expense in the future for people that have relatively new antennas or are intending to buy one and don’t know which model to buy.

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  11. ClearChannel

    As for Adjacent Channel Interference there is a variable UHF trap from Winegard. It is the model UT-2700, this unit is discontinued but is available on Ebay. It is effective over the frequency range of 470 to 810MHz. There are two separate traps that may be tuned to the same frequency to reduce it -15dB or to separate frequencies to reduce them -8.5dB. I don’t know why it was discontinued but I find it effective, it reduces the signal from the CBC from 98% to 71% however it does fluctuate from 71% to 82%. This has the effect of bringing up the CBS signal from 49% to a steady 71%. All the other Mt. Mansfield stations average 82% to 85%.

    I had this trap connected at my store where it was needed most, I don’t absolutely need it at home but I tried it at home and the effect is noticeable. These types of traps might come in big demand if the re-allocation goes ahead. It’s surprising that with this new digital technology they still haven’t solved the problem of ACI and filter traps are still needed.

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  12. Apple IIGS

    1. No one has suggested forcing any television stations off the air.

    Yet effectively, such a move will do just that.

    If four Montreal stations and three US stations (not even including other nearby fringe stations) are suddenly forced to move and ALL SQUEEZE INTO THIS TINY SPECTRUM SPACE of channels 2 to 26, undoubtedly some feet will get stepped on! We could lose many US stations, both those above and below 26. And don’t tell me American stations have no place in Canada, most have been reaching Montrealers for decades and to the point of even carrying local advertising. Vermont PBS depends on contributions from Montreal to pay for a fair bit of its programming.

    2. People on fixed or low incomes use phones too.

    Since when has telephone been offered as free public service by the government? Um, never? Broadcast OTA television falls under the same category as free broadcast radio.

    And speaking of telephone, there are now very affordable (and even free!) alternatives to Bell’s outrageously overpriced POTS lines.

    3. Those companies will be paying billions of dollars for this spectrum, and it will take many years to make that money back. Plus the release of new spectrum is meant to encourage new players to enter the marketplace and offer competition for and lower prices than those big three telecom companies.

    Oh boo hoo, poor Bell Canada. They’re not exactly a struggling company, are they. Billions of dollars is peanuts to them. I really don’t care about the how many billions and trillions more companies like Bell can make grabbing from the digital spectrum. If this proposal is rejected, is Bell’s survival at stake? Will they even be in danger falling profits? NO, it just fattens their pockets. On the other hand, if the proposal is accepted, it will affect the public and be detrimental to us. Particularly those who cannot afford to go out replace their free OTA (because it’s eroded to the point of being no longer watchable) with $80/month cable TV.

    Encourage new players, lower prices? HAH. I’ll believe it when I see it. Canada is one of the most expensive regions in the world when it comes to wireless cell service. Last time frequencies opened up, we were supposed to see competition, and yet we got none. I don’t expect things to change.

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    1. Fagstein Post author

      And don’t tell me American stations have no place in Canada, most have been reaching Montrealers for decades and to the point of even carrying local advertising.

      Indeed, though that’s been through cable carriage more than over-the-air reception. Even in the analog days it wasn’t easy to capture the U.S. stations with indoor antennas. But the law of the land has always been that U.S. stations are not protected from interference in Canada. How those stations act, or what the personal preferences are of people in Montreal are irrelevant to the rules. If you want the rules to change, petition Industry Canada, the CRTC and the House of Commons to change them.

      Since when has telephone been offered as free public service by the government?

      Never. And yet telephone service is, I would argue, far more important for public safety than television.

      And speaking of telephone, there are now very affordable (and even free!) alternatives to Bell’s outrageously overpriced POTS lines.

      And you can thank the CRTC for the regulatory framework that allows those alternatives to exist and interact with Bell’s network.

      Oh boo hoo, poor Bell Canada. They’re not exactly a struggling company, are they. Billions of dollars is peanuts to them.

      BCE’s market capitalization is $45 billion. So I guess it depends whether you consider 1/20th or more of your net worth as “peanuts”.

      If this proposal is rejected, is Bell’s survival at stake?

      Obviously not. But why would we use that as a standard?

      On the other hand, if the proposal is accepted, it will affect the public and be detrimental to us.

      Because there’s an increased potential of adjacent-channel interference to U.S. stations in Montreal. And because of that and that alone, up to 150 MHz of spectrum that could be put to good use should continue to be protected.

      Encourage new players, lower prices? HAH. I’ll believe it when I see it.

      Here are Videotron Mobile’s wireless plans. Here’s Wind Mobile’s. And here’s Mobilicity’s. All of these are possible because of preferential measures in the AWS spectrum auction in 2008.

      Reply
      1. Apple IIGS

        Indeed, though that’s been through cable carriage more than over-the-air reception. Even in the analog days it wasn’t easy to capture the U.S. stations with indoor antennas.

        On that note, didn’t Videotron replace the Vermont PBS and WCFE Plattsburg feeds with PBS stations from other states? Interestingly, Vermont PBS broadcasts at 90 kW versus local Montreal stations like CFCF-12 at 10 kW or City TV at 4 kW. In this case, I have far less difficulty picking up a station transmitter that’s 100 miles away, compared to a transmitter I can literally see outside my window, a top Mount Royal! (seriously, no joke).

        I know cable subscribers who’ve set up an antenna just to get Vermont PBS. I don’t know what PBS stations Bell offers, but Vermont PBS still relies on OTA viewers for contributions and keep the station going. Don’t think they’d take too kindly to being kicked out of Montreal’s spectrum.

        But the law of the land has always been that U.S. stations are not protected from interference in Canada.

        Ah, exactly my point earlier. So when TQS/V or Canal Savoir are kicked off the higher spectrum, it would be totally OK if they decided to move to physical channels 14 or 22, and block out NBC and CBS? Would you be OK with that?

        Never. And yet telephone service is, I would argue, far more important for public safety than television.

        I don’t know about that. You’re talking about 911 service, correct? It’s there and vital for POTENTIAL emergencies, yes, but your typical day to day use? Hardly important. I think having freely accessible television broadcasts of news, weather and other important daily info is far more important. Good example, the ice storm just yesterday. Does the telephone warn seniors and those with disabilities that the sidewalks are icy and the city of Montreal has been negligent in de-icing them, and won’t get around to doing so until Friday? No. On the other hand, local TV news broadcasts certain have done so the past two days.

        There’s also the radio, like listening to CJAD, but you cannot see visuals. Makes a world of difference.

        And you can thank the CRTC for the regulatory framework that allows those alternatives to exist and interact with Bell’s network.

        Did the CRTC decide it’s okay to for Bell to charge a monthly dry-loop to third party DSL customers who switch to VoIP, but not Bell’s own DSL customers? Bell is allowed to punish people monetarily for choosing to cancel their telephone. How is this even allowed?

        The CRTC is a useless organization filled with dinosaurs, who look out more for Bell’s interests than the public. But that’s a whole other debate about how the CRTC should be abolished.

        Because there’s an increased potential of adjacent-channel interference to U.S. stations in Montreal. And because of that and that alone, up to 150 MHz of spectrum that could be put to good use should continue to be protected.

        Hmm? You’re saying the increased potential of adjacent-channel interference (which would come about by grabbing that extra 150 MHz of spectrum space) is a good thing? My whole argument is squeezing so many different regions into only 26 channels won’t be enough room. Montreal, Ottawa, Sherbrooke, Vermont, New Hampshire, New York, etc….with so many channels so close to each other (or on top of!) lots of people are going to suddenly lose LOTS of channels.

        Here are Videotron Mobile’s wireless plans. Here’s Wind Mobile’s. And here’s Mobilicity’s. All of these are possible because of preferential measures in the AWS spectrum auction in 2008.

        So about $30 after taxes for a cell, not including hidden and extra fees. Still a lot more expensive than in the US or other parts of the world.

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        1. Fagstein Post author

          didn’t Videotron replace the Vermont PBS and WCFE Plattsburg feeds with PBS stations from other states?

          No.

          I don’t know what PBS stations Bell offers, but Vermont PBS still relies on OTA viewers for contributions and keep the station going.

          What’s your source for this assertion?

          So when TQS/V or Canal Savoir are kicked off the higher spectrum, it would be totally OK if they decided to move to physical channels 14 or 22, and block out NBC and CBS? Would you be OK with that?

          Whether I’d be okay with that is irrelevant. Channel 22 might be problematic because it’s right next to channel 21. And putting them on the same channels as the U.S. stations could cause interference with those stations in the U.S., which wouldn’t be allowed. But if that wasn’t the case, then yes, sure, they can use the same channel.

          It’s there and vital for POTENTIAL emergencies, yes, but your typical day to day use? Hardly important.

          If you think over-the-air television is more important than the telephone for communicating, then OK. I disagree.

          The CRTC is a useless organization filled with dinosaurs, who look out more for Bell’s interests than the public. But that’s a whole other debate about how the CRTC should be abolished.

          Do you seriously think that without a government regulator Bell will act *less* like a monopoly?

          You’re saying the increased potential of adjacent-channel interference (which would come about by grabbing that extra 150 MHz of spectrum space) is a good thing?

          No.

          My whole argument is squeezing so many different regions into only 26 channels won’t be enough room. Montreal, Ottawa, Sherbrooke, Vermont, New Hampshire, New York, etc….with so many channels so close to each other (or on top of!) lots of people are going to suddenly lose LOTS of channels.

          Maybe. But is the ability to receive distant television stations over the air worth reserving that much spectrum for? The question here is over what is the best use of that spectrum, between a television service that seems to underutilize it and a wireless service that is rapidly expanding and has a neverending thirst for spectrum. If you believe that receiving distant stations across the border, something most people can’t do with an internal antenna anyway, is more important, then by all means tell Industry Canada.

          So about $30 after taxes for a cell, not including hidden and extra fees.

          Which hidden and extra fees? I just checked my bill, and I don’t see any such fees for cellphone service.

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          1. ClearChannel

            PBS has fund raising drives, I have contributed to them before and the donations can be applied to your income taxes. They get some funding from the government and more from viewers. This is nothing new it has been going on a long time.

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          2. Dilbert

            “Do you seriously think that without a government regulator Bell will act *less* like a monopoly?”

            Do you honestly think they could act any MORE like a monopoly at this point?

            In fairness, it’s mostly a duopoly… as the competition (such as internet or phone service) generally uses one or the other’s network to get the job done. Your internet service in Montreal only comes from one of two companies, no matter what label is on the box.

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      2. Dilbert

        “Never. And yet telephone service is, I would argue, far more important for public safety than television.”

        Incorrect. You can pick up any phone and dial 911 and get through without cost. I don’t know about in Canada, but in the US even cell phones without service (no functional plan) can still call 911.

        The power of television is to inform, the same as radio. In an emergency situation, the ability to inform millions of people at the same time with the same information is way more powerful than the ability to call them one at a time to tell them. That is one of the major interests in the use of the “public airwaves”

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        1. Fagstein Post author

          In an emergency situation, the ability to inform millions of people at the same time with the same information is way more powerful than the ability to call them one at a time to tell them.

          Depends on the type of emergency.

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      3. Dilbert

        “Here are Videotron Mobile’s wireless plans. Here’s Wind Mobile’s. And here’s Mobilicity’s. All of these are possible because of preferential measures in the AWS spectrum auction in 2008.”

        All of which are ending up in the hands of the majors, once again. Videotron “competing” is mostly cooperation, using other companies towers as their own in most places, and providing that service back. It’s not a big jump at the end of the day. The other small players are slowly getting merged up and taken over… they really cannot compete with the big players who can afford to lose money year after year just to build market share.

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        1. Fagstein Post author

          All of which are ending up in the hands of the majors, once again.

          If by “all” you mean “none”. The government has made it very clear it would block any takeover of reserved spectrum by the Big Three, and it already has.

          they really cannot compete with the big players who can afford to lose money year after year just to build market share.

          So we should give up and not offer them spectrum?

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          1. Dilbert

            ” The government has made it very clear it would block any takeover of reserved spectrum by the Big Three, and it already has.”

            Yeah, and they will just form shell companies and fronts to buy controlling interests. It’s a small world,and they want to own all of it.

            “So we should give up and not offer them spectrum?”

            Nope, but if the CRTC won’t allow TV and radio stations because they don’t think they will be profitable, why is there a different standard here? Why is competition (even if it will fail) encouraged in one area and totally discouraged in another? Why allow mega concentration on one side, and suddenly take a hard stand on another?

            Did the brown envelope not show up or something? ;)

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            1. Fagstein Post author

              Yeah, and they will just form shell companies and fronts to buy controlling interests. It’s a small world,and they want to own all of it.

              If shell companies were a way to get around this issue then it would have been used already. The government is concerned with effective control of a company, regardless of how many layers are between it and the asset being controlled.

              Nope, but if the CRTC won’t allow TV and radio stations because they don’t think they will be profitable, why is there a different standard here?

              The CRTC doesn’t regulate telecommunications providers in the same way as broadcasters. And there’s nothing to indicate that a fourth wireless player couldn’t be profitable. The federal government is betting hard that it could, even with lower prices for the consumer.

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      4. ClearChannel

        “Because there’s an increased potential of adjacent-channel interference to U.S. stations in Montreal. And because of that and that alone, up to 150 MHz of spectrum that could be put to good use should continue to be protected.”

        What a callous attitude you constantly display towards people that rely on over-the-air television. Many people can’t afford Pay TV and there are people that have left because of the ever increasing costs and duplication of services i.e. many channels carrying the same programming and many of those channels wasting space even on the Pay TV grids. Your contention is that 150MHz of spectrum is underused and I have stated previously that in Canada the system has been rigged that way with condo rules and general restrictions on antenna use.

        If over-the- air TV was on an equal footing with Pay TV which it isn’t, it would have enjoyed more widespread use and exposure. More people would have been using it shooting down all of your arguments and that 2006 survey that the CRTC likes to quote. Unfortunately this is not the United States where there are laws protecting an individual’s rights. As Dilbert has mentioned previously, condo projects give exclusive rights to cable companies and that in itself constitutes corruption. If OTA was in widespread use in these structures especially because there are so many of them, there would have been a demand for expansion in the number of channels particularly in the use of sub-channels which would take full advantage of the new digital technology which hasn’t happened because of the underlying corruption that exists here.

        In Anjou for example there are close to a dozen condo buildings near the shopping center filled with of hundreds of Pay TV Prisoners no doubt created by this policy of granting exclusive rights to the building to Videotron. Where is the competition, where are the rooftop antennas ? Where is the freedom of choice? Where is the freedom to choose even between Pay TV providers? There’s your corruption. And it gets worse as people age and need medications that are expensive and in many cases only covered by government insurance to the tune of 80%. These medications are usually more expensive than a Pay TV subscription, where is the option of OTA for those people especially those living in condos and apartments? You want to callously disregard those people and those that want to choose a TV service other than Pay TV?

        That 150MHz of spectrum is being put to good use, it’s providing people with “Freedom of Choice” although it’s limited compared to the United States but if offers people freedom from” Pay TV Enslavement”.

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    2. Dilbert

      “And speaking of telephone, there are now very affordable (and even free!) alternatives to Bell’s outrageously overpriced POTS lines.”

      Almost all of which require an internet connection that is very much not free. That’s not a very good answer. They can get a cheap cell but then have limited service.

      Free? Not happening.

      Reply
  13. Apple IIGS

    Apple IIGS, you must be in a very good location to get 22 to 27 channels

    Exactly. I’m in a high rise building, several stories up, and in an area of where there is mostly flat terrain and no other tall buildings nearby. I use an amplified (powered) indoor antenna incidentally, which helps a fair bit.

    These are the channels I pick up…

    2.1 – CBC Radio Canada
    3.1 – CBS
    3.2 – Weather
    5.1 – NBC
    5.2 – CW
    5.3 – Me TV
    6.1 – CBC
    10.1 – TVA
    11.1 – New Hampshire PBS (NHPTV)
    11.2 – PBS Explore
    11.3 – PBS World
    11.4 – PBS Create
    12.1 – CTV
    15.1 – Global
    22.1 – ABC
    24.1 – Tele-Quebec (Sherbrooke)
    29.1 – Savoir
    33.1 – Vermont PBS
    33.2 – PBS Plus
    33.3 – PBS Create
    33.4 – PBS World
    35.1 – V
    44.1 – FOX
    57.1 – Plattsburgh PBS
    57.2 – PBS MHz WorldView
    57.3 – PBS World
    62.1 – City TV

    Should note, ever since Hydro Quebec installed smart meters in my building (banks of them, in a utility closet directly in front of my apartment) my digital reception has been wonky. I recently had to replace my amplified antenna with a different type just to have a proper/working signal (otherwise I get bursts of errors every 15-30 seconds!). I have trouble picking up New Hampshire PBS now, as well as 35.1 and the two CBC’s (2.1 and 6.1). And lately 22.1 and 57.1 have been giving me problems.

    Reply
    1. ClearChannel

      You pick up more channels than I do which proves a contention of mine that apartment buildings and condos are ideal because of their height for OTA reception and could serve all of their residents with one or more antennas on the roof but aren’t doing so.

      Reply
      1. ClearChannel

        I can’t get the New Hampshire channels from my location I don’t think, I would have to re-check on the tvfool website. I could get the Sherbrooke channels with a second antenna but I chose not to because they are duplicates of what we have here. For the same reason I don’t get CJOH which I could easily. 22 is impossible to get while CFCF is on channel 12. Channel 44 FOX is directing it’s signal away from my area and comes in only under unusual atmospheric conditions. I could get and have gotten channel 57 PBS from Plattsburgh before but in so doing I lose WCAX CBS channel 3 due to a much higher level of adjacent channel interference from CBC CBMT channel 6. CBMT is on channel 21.1 and WCAX is on 22.1 and 22.2. CBMT and WCFE are on the same compass heading for me which places the WCFE signal coming from the other side of Mount Royal. If Canada was in the 21st Century like the United States, CBMT would be on channel 19.2 with it’s sister station CBFT on 19.1 and I would immediately have WCFE’s three channels added to my list. I have one antenna fixed in one direction because the antenna serves more than one television. I have equipment that supplies of to twelve TV’s if I so choose. I could even supply my neighbours on either side with OTA. All equipment is readily available on the Internet. I believe that if more consideration was given to people watching TV via an antenna, the problems of adjacent channel interference could be resolved.

        But as stated previously many times before, if Canada had it’s act together and eliminated antenna restrictions on condos etc., guaranteed individual rights to people wanting to erect antennas in those structures, learned what sub-channels are, do away with monopolies that control everything and too much and offer it’s citizens true freedom of choice ( which by the way the separatists in Quebec regard as swear words ), then we would have today a healthier Broadcast Television system than we have now and healthy competition all around.

        Reply
  14. ClearChannel

    There was a commission in Quebec looking into allegations of corruption in the construction industry where only a few companies were awarded all the contracts. A person moving into a condo for example has only one company providing television service, sounds familiar?

    Reply
  15. ClearChannel

    Going through Videotron’s channel list I see that they only carry the main channels of WCAX, WPTZ, and Vermont PBS. They do not carry WCAX EXTRA or WPTZ’s The CW and MeTV or PBS Vermont’s PBS Plus, Create, and World sub-channels. As for WCFE PBS Mountain Lake they only have Mountain Lake PBS and not the MHz Worldview and World sub-channels.

    Looking through Bell Satellite and Shaw Direct I see that they carry none of the U.S. border stations of New York and Vermont that we rely on for vacations and shopping trips. I was on Starchoice – Shaw Direct for ten years and the local American border stations were never available. It was only NBC East and NBC West for example, Detroit Michigan and Seattle Washington, no Plattsburgh or Burlington.

    It is very obvious that OTA fills the gap left by the various Pay TV providers and serves the need for people wanting information directly from those areas while at the same time providing more variety than Videotron and 100% more information on our local area than either Bell or Shaw Direct.

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      Going through Videotron’s channel list I see that they only carry the main channels of WCAX, WPTZ, and Vermont PBS. They do not carry WCAX EXTRA or WPTZ’s The CW and MeTV or PBS Vermont’s PBS Plus, Create, and World sub-channels.

      This is correct. Videotron would most likely need a CRTC licence amendment to permit it to carry these other services. It does carry other CW affiliates, and I doubt it would be interested in carrying a channel devoted to Burlington weather.

      Looking through Bell Satellite and Shaw Direct I see that they carry none of the U.S. border stations of New York and Vermont that we rely on for vacations and shopping trips.

      Satellite services are national and have to choose which affiliates to take. They generally take the big cities – Boston, Detroit, Seattle.

      more variety than Videotron and 100% more information on our local area than either Bell or Shaw Direct.

      If “our local area” includes a town in another country that is 115 kilometres away.

      Reply
      1. Michael Black

        To be fair, the US stations were considered “local”. WPTZ is running ads about being sixty years old, I forget when English CBC came on air, but CFCF was January 1961. So the US stations made up for the lack of local English stations, we didn’t get a third one till Global arrived, about 1997. For a long time the US stations included Montreal “Plattsburgh, Burlington, Montreal” in their ID, and apparently counted on the Montreal viewership.

        Those US TV stations are way local than radio stations in Vermont and upper New York have ever been.

        Michael

        Reply
        1. ClearChannel

          TV signals typically have a range of 100 miles which is 160.93 kilometers under optimum conditions meaning the size and gain of the antenna, antenna height, the quality of the coax being used and terrain and any obstructions. Signals, whether for television or radio carry further over water. Mount Mansfield Vermont is 83 miles line-of-sight from my home which is 133.5719 kilometers and I receive the TV signals from there easily. These signals have been received here since the 1950’s and can easily be considered part of our “local area” especially when considering the cross-border shopping trips and vacations through several decades with information being supplied by those TV signals.

          Reply
  16. ClearChannel

    Exactly, our local area has traditionally included , Plattsburgh, Burlington, and Lake George. Anyone old enough and been living here long enough automatically knows these things. These areas include Frontier Town( now closed down ) and Lake Placid including Whiteface Mountain. Some people here might still remember Tom Auburn of CFCF channel 12 that used to spend time in those areas and do shows from those areas that were part of the local programming of CFCF channel 12 and everyone here remembers 405 Ogilvy avenue. Tom Auburn went by the stage name of “Magic Tom” who also did shows at the old “Belmont Park” in Cartierville. The areas of Plattsburgh and Burlington are very familiar areas to Montrealers that have been frequented for decades and we consider them part of our “Local” area. However people get news from those areas today either from cable or antenna today, we still consider those areas of importance to us. However, in the past before Videotron came on the scene, antennas were in wider use and people relied on them for direct access to information from those areas. Even an anti-antenna pro- pay TV person should realize that.

    Reply
  17. ClearChannel

    In the late 1960’s and early 1970’s before “Videotron” antennas were easy to get, Addisons sold them and all Radio Shack stores sold them and even “Pascal Hardware” was selling rooftop TV antennas. They sold antennas specifically made for channels 3 and 5. There were also filter traps available to help block the interference from channels 2 and 6. The traps had adjustable dial controls on them. They were readily available at Addisons, the first models were 300 ohm units then they were changed to 75 ohms. These channel 3 and 5 antennas were obviously being used to receive television broadcasts directly from Burlington and Plattsburgh. The information contained in these broadcasts back then was being used for planning future shopping trips and vacations in those cities and the surrounding areas, Plattsburgh Beach, Pyramid Mall etc.

    The first cable company in Montreal was not “VIdeotron” but was simply called “Cablevision” with offices on Beaubien just west of Park Avenue. When we got “Cablevision” for the first time there was a switch at the back of the TV to select between cable and antenna. There were only 13 channels available then, you needed to use the TV’s tuner and we got cable to receive WMTW channel 8 from Poland Spring Maine.

    The relationship between Montrealers and the “North Country” go back many many years and “antennas” were a vital part of that relationship and still are for those of us that dislike being shackled by your friends at Pay TV.

    Reply
  18. ClearChannel

    After further researching Montreal’s cable TV history, the company was called “National Cablevision” which was later taken over by Videotron.

    Reply
  19. ClearChannel

    I have received an email from Industry Canada and I find their answers disappointing but not unexpected. They cannot provide direct answers to direct questions. Their answers are either generally evasive or they don’t answer at all. I asked them pointed questions and they couldn’t answer but chose to be evasive. As for my questions to reception problems to U.S. stations that might occur with a reduction in spectrum, they told me to contact the FCC – passing the buck. I got the impression that they couldn’t care less about problems with reception of American stations by Canadian citizens and handed me the usual line of wanting to “Optimize” their ability to protect spectrum for OTA TV stations in Canada. English translation; they want to make life difficult for people receiving American stations with an antenna thereby helping their friends in the Pay TV Industry. There’s that underlying corruption again.

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      As for my questions to reception problems to U.S. stations that might occur with a reduction in spectrum, they told me to contact the FCC – passing the buck.

      Since it’s the FCC that will be reallocating the spectrum, and moving U.S. stations down the dial, that would make sense, no? Industry Canada has no control over the transmission pattern of U.S. stations.

      I got the impression that they couldn’t care less about problems with reception of American stations by Canadian citizens

      That’s the point I’ve been trying to make for weeks now.

      English translation; they want to make life difficult for people receiving American stations with an antenna thereby helping their friends in the Pay TV Industry. There’s that underlying corruption again.

      And all they had to do was take control of the U.S. government. So easy.

      Reply
      1. ClearChannel

        We have just reached the same conclusion from different angles, I have always suspected there was some amount of corruption going on in this country, Industry Canada and the CRTC working hand in hand with Pay TV, or poor decisions were made in the past that has led to this creation of these huge monopolies that have taken over control and government departments being rendered powerless to do anything. As for the Americans, I don’t think it will be a walk in the park for the Pay TV Industry or Congress there to push these changes through. People in the states are well informed about broadcast TV unlike here and they are more vocal about what they will interpret spectrum reduction as an infringement on their rights. The digital technology has been fully applied there to OTA since 2009. There has been much advertising in the news media about it. There was a coupon program for digital to analog converters while here in Canada there was mute silence. People in the Los Angeles area for example that have dumped their satellite to economize and have a family to raise and very happily claim that they are now receiving 120 channels with their antenna ( on YouTube) will not be at all happy with any spectrum reduction that will jeopardize their recent investment in an antenna and related equipment that they saw as a way of saving money. There are 60 million other cases just like that one. Do research on antenna models and one after another state at being happy at doing away with their ever increasing cable and satellite bills. We sorely need that kind of awareness here.

        Reply
  20. ClearChannel

    What Industry Canada can do is move whatever Canadian channels are necessary to avoid causing interference to the reception of those U.S. border stations. With full co-operation with the Americans, interference could be kept to a minimum to ensure that people on either side of the border can have unfettered access to each other’s signals. Anything less than than will be seen as aiding and abetting the Pay TV Industry.

    Reply
  21. ClearChannel

    Yes, anything less than that would be seen as helping the Pay TV Industry. I deliberately used the word “Abetting” because as I have stated before and I have made this point very clear that the Canadian Television Industry is ‘Rife” with corruption. Rules and regulations in place to prevent many people from putting up antennas, very little information on OTA released to the public, the non-introduction of the use of sub-channels on a widespread scale, the takeover of Broadcasters by the wrong people i.e. Bell and the like, all of this smells of corruption from the head down.

    Reply
  22. ClearChannel

    One question I have is will the comments on this blog be forwarded to Industry Canada or the CRTC or do people in those departments visit this blog to get an impression of the public’s view on this subject ?

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      will the comments on this blog be forwarded to Industry Canada or the CRTC

      Not by me.

      do people in those departments visit this blog to get an impression of the public’s view on this subject ?

      I’m unfamiliar with Industry Canada, but I know people at the CRTC read this blog. They probably won’t go through the 300+ comments on this post, though. And both organizations will base decisions on comments submitted to them, not what they find on the Internet.

      Reply
      1. ClearChannel

        In that case, both of those government departments know exactly what I think of this subject in no uncertain terms.

        Reply
  23. ClearChannel

    Anyone wishing to file a complaint or their views with Industry Canada can do so at [spectrum.auctions@ic.gc.ca].

    [Ed: I’ve edited this comment to direct people to email a multiuser account at Industry Canada instead of a specific person, at Industry Canada’s request.]

    Reply
  24. ClearChannel

    Yes, anyone wishing to file a comment, question or complaint can do so at spectrum.auctions@ic.gc.ca but good luck a getting an answer satisfactory or otherwise. I am beginning to think that this department has set out on a course irrespectful of what you or I would like to have done. Their actions indirectly or not will undoubtedly benefit the Pay TV Industry , not the average consumer. The mere fact that they want to accommodate “Wireless Companies” proves that they have no regard to low income families or seniors or anyone relying on their OTA antennas for their news and entertainment from both Canada and the United States.

    Reply
  25. Clear Channel

    Well the CRTC has finally seen the light with the commission chairman on stage telling the audience that OTA is here to stay while having the Antennas Direct DB8e antenna behind him. That was a complete surprise to me and for the first time in probably decades, Canadians watching the news and probably many of them had their first look at a TV antenna. That is the kind of exposure that OTA television needs on a regular basis and especially in the newspapers informing the public that they actually have an alternative to Pay TV.

    With the CRTC breathing new life into OTA, perhaps that will create jobs as antenna installers will be needed to meet the demand of an educated public being exposed to something that has been regarded as “top secret” for so long in this country. Perhaps we can dream and see apartments and condos being retrofitted for antenna signals. That could even be an incentive for new buyers of condos knowing that the choice of free television will be available at their future purchase. Apartment hunters might find that an attractive option also.

    We may even join the Americans in the 21st century one day when Canadian sub-channels become a reality offering even more choices. A truly free “Wireless TV Service” otherwise known as over-the-air television becoming popular again and an attractive option for many Canadians.

    Reply
  26. Joe White

    Face it- free over the air broadcasts for the Canadian public- once a sort of “right” of public access- in exchange for spectrum use and advertising income- will soon be outlawed using backdoor legislation and maneuvering.

    Why? Because PAID access to information is the new attempted norm- thanks to the monopolies like Rogers Bell etc. Its all about controlling what you have access to and requiring you to pay-
    Just look at sports franchises being bought by these same companies do they can put them on paid cable- rather than broadcast tv where advertising dollars funds it. If the cant make money on OTA due to lack of advertising income- and btich the Canadain content rules is what makes it do expensive- GET RID of the Canadain content requirmtns! It’s mostly crap anyway!

    The idea that Bell has tried to shut off free OTA tv is frightening. The public will have no over the air access to information and only having wired services that can be controlled according to location is Iron Curtain-like.

    It’s all about making these big companies money, restricting your freedom to information and controlling what has always been considered “free to access” ie via the air waves….
    It all started with Bell making it illegal for you, as a Canadain, to watch a transmitted wireless signal from any country other than Canada , if that signal is provided by a ” must pay to watch ” Canadian carrier -( i am talking satellite service)- now it is just more of the same crap. Killing OTA TV… What a pathetic joke- thanks Bell.

    The radio spectrum will be controlled by a few, will be required to be paid for by subscription and will be controlled- and good luck if you think your government is going listen to its citizens . This is another example of Canadian Corperate Fascisism –
    Don’t get me started about our lack of rights to put up an antennea or how the AM broadcast band- great for longndistance information gathering, has been destroyed by all the imported, unfiltered devices that cause radio interference and hash- making noise levels so high the band is almost useless. Chineese manufactures don’t install required filter competent, industry Canada dies nothing to check nor move up to European or Japaneses standard- again to make the spectrum so useless it will be sold to new digital “pay for use” services from the monopoly.
    Check back in 20 years and see if any “public access” radio/TV exists for the masses…
    If we don’t stop this at this stage, that’s where it will go….

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      Face it- free over the air broadcasts for the Canadian public- once a sort of “right” of public access- in exchange for spectrum use and advertising income- will soon be outlawed using backdoor legislation and maneuvering.

      It won’t need to be because broadcasters no longer need access to spectrum.

      The public will have no over the air access to information and only having wired services that can be controlled according to location is Iron Curtain-like.

      No it’s not. No one was shot by the government for trying to end their cable TV subscriptions.

      It’s all about making these big companies money, restricting your freedom to information and controlling what has always been considered “free to access” ie via the air waves….

      There’s no constitutional freedom to get access to all information without paying for it. If there was, books would be illegal.

      It all started with Bell making it illegal for you, as a Canadain, to watch a transmitted wireless signal from any country other than Canada

      I am aware of no such law preventing people from receiving signals transmitted wirelessly, except for things like satellite TV piracy.

      The radio spectrum will be controlled by a few

      The radio spectrum is controlled by Industry Canada.

      This is another example of Canadian Corperate Fascisism –

      So we’re in both a fascist *and* communist dictatorship?

      Don’t get me started about our lack of rights to put up an antennea or how the AM broadcast band- great for longndistance information gathering, has been destroyed by all the imported, unfiltered devices that cause radio interference and hash- making noise levels so high the band is almost useless. Chineese manufactures don’t install required filter competent, industry Canada dies nothing to check nor move up to European or Japaneses standard- again to make the spectrum so useless it will be sold to new digital “pay for use” services from the monopoly.

      That’s some conspiracy you got there.

      Check back in 20 years and see if any “public access” radio/TV exists for the masses…

      It exists now. It’s called YouTube.

      Reply
  27. ClearChannel

    I have seen new TV antennas going up recently. The changeover is not moving faster than it is because newspapers like the Gazette are not informing the public about OTA. Companies like Bell and Videotron are not about to start informing the public that a cost- free option exists to watch TV especially those uninterested in having 300 plus channels. It’s up to governments that citizens have equal access to OTA signals along with those from cable and satellite especially for residents of apartments and condos that are currently being “handcuffed” under the current system.

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      The changeover is not moving faster than it is because newspapers like the Gazette are not informing the public about OTA.

      We’re not informing people about toasters either but somehow people are still making toast.

      Reply
      1. ClearChannel

        Toasters are on display practically everywhere, where are the TV antennas and the knowledgeable sales staff ?

        Reply
  28. ClearChannel

    Doing research recently on OTA channels in the U.S. , Canada is in a pathetic situation by comparison. Chicago has 86 channels, New York City 104. I could go on but that gives you a small sampling of what is available there for free with an antenna. That is unlikely to happen here as the Pay TV Industry appears to control too much. One thing is clear though, that an efficient over-the-air broadcasting system using the technology fully which includes the use of sub-channels ( haven’t seen much of that here ) would render Pay TV largely redundant. OTA signals can be distributed throughout an apartment building or condo complex just as easily as cable signals and that’s what they’re afraid of. OTA being used to it’s full potential could very well mean that Pay TV’s days are numbered.

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      an efficient over-the-air broadcasting system using the technology fully which includes the use of sub-channels ( haven’t seen much of that here ) would render Pay TV largely redundant.

      If that’s true (and it’s not), why is pay TV not redundant in the U.S., where these technologies are used?

      Reply
      1. ClearChannel

        It is redundant for about 60 million Americans. Those that want more than what OTA provides there is Pay TV to serve that need. I believe in freedom of choice which simply doesn’t exist here. People living in condos or apartments are generally on cable. They can try their luck with indoor antennas but will not generally happy with the results. I get 22 channels with my antenna on the tower, but I’m lucky to get 5 with an indoor model.
        The CRTC likes to quote that 8% figure of people on OTA, but make OTA available everywhere equal to cable and that figure in no doubt would go up.
        The same equipment that handles cable signals also handles OTA signals. I have such equipment, check out Channel Master’s line of distribution amps, the CM3414 and the CM3418 for example. The reality is that anyone living in a condo or apartment is generally a “Pay TV Prisoner”.

        Reply
  29. Jack Nathanson

    I live in a fourth floor apartment with a balcony facing the southeast. Last October, I had an outdoor antenna installed on the remains of an obsolete satellite dish left there by a previous tenant. I can now receive up to 23 channels, depending on the reception conditions. One thing that I noticed is that every American station that I receive uses from one to three sidebands in addition to the main signal. Yet with the Canadian stations, both English and French, the only station broadcasting on any sideband is Global Montreal, and their second signal is identical to their main signal, except that it is in standard definition rather than in high definition.

    Can anyone tell me why this is the case. Are the Canadian broadcasting laws totally different from the American broadcasting laws, or are the Canadian stations, which are often owned by the pay-tv companies, simply a lot greedier?

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      Are the Canadian broadcasting laws totally different from the American broadcasting laws, or are the Canadian stations, which are often owned by the pay-tv companies, simply a lot greedier?

      Part of it is that regulations are different. In the U.S., small-market local stations are owned by independent companies instead of the major networks, and they receive fees from local cable distributors who carry their signals. Multiplexing is allowed in Canada, but additional services need to be licensed by the CRTC, and there hasn’t been much demand for them yet.

      And part of it is the market. Canadian stations exist mainly to fulfill regulatory requirements for simultaneous substitution. If a major media company wants to launch a new service, it’s going to do it on cable where it can get subscription revenue in addition to advertising.

      Reply
      1. ClearChannel

        How does that work? Is it because the cable company owns the TV station? How would it be if cable companies and broadcasters were separate entities? If the cord-cutting trend continues and cable subscriptions drop, they would need to re-think their advertising strategy I imagine.

        Reply
        1. ClearChannel

          After further thought, the advertising strategy in the United States must be different given that cities like New York that has 104 over-the-air ( OTA ) TV stations in operation. That represents a substantial viewer base, something that advertisers can’t ignore. The strategy here would have to change here too I would think if we were suddenly blessed with so many channels available for free over-the-air.

          Reply
  30. ClearChannel

    Mayor Denis Coderre is proposing to make free Wi-Fi available in downtown Montreal. My question is could that be a potential source of interference for anyone watching TV over-the-air ?

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      Mayor Denis Coderre is proposing to make free Wi-Fi available in downtown Montreal. My question is could that be a potential source of interference for anyone watching TV over-the-air ?

      Unlikely. The Wi-Fi bands aren’t really near the TV broadcast band, and Wi-Fi transmissions are very low-power. Plus, Wi-Fi is already all over the place, and adding some more is unlikely to change things.

      Reply
  31. ClearChannel

    The news has been pretty quiet on what Industry Canada and the FCC are going to do about the upper 600MHz band. We know they were to take some spectrum away for more cell phone use but there haven’t been any updates. Meanwhle there has been speculation on a return to the VHF Low band. That’s important as many people discarded their old antennas and bought VHF-Hi/UHF antennas. If they move back to VHF-Low, then it means changing antennas again. The use of sub-channels would no doubt increase, something that is unknown here in Canada. Why they have the French CBC on channel 19.1 and the English CBC on channel 21.1 beats me. It makes more sense to have the English CBC on 19.2 instead, that would be a better use of the spectrum. They can now have 6 channels in the same space where only 1 analog channel was before.

    I hope these changes don’t come in the dead of winter. Surfing the net it appears that there are more antenna manufacturers like Electronic Master. What would interest me more is if there would be changes allowing condo and apartment residents the right to erect an antenna if they choose to cut their cable.

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      The news has been pretty quiet on what Industry Canada and the FCC are going to do about the upper 600MHz band.

      Not really. There’s news out there on the FCC front. As for Industry Canada, reply comments were posted in April.

      Why they have the French CBC on channel 19.1 and the English CBC on channel 21.1 beats me.

      Because they use the same antenna, and they both broadcast in HD.

      Reply
  32. ClearChannel

    “Because they use the same antenna, and they both broadcast in HD”, so what? That doesn’t explain why CBMT isn’t on channel 19.2. They can have six stations on the same channel now or a channel in HD as the main channel plus five sub-channels. PBS Vermont broadcasts four channels, 33.1,33.2,33.3 and 33.4. 33.1 and 33.2 are both in 1080i HD and 33.3 and 33.4 are in 480i SD. Canada as usual lags behind the Americans in fully implementing the new digital technology in broadcast television. We can have both the French and English CBC stations, CBFT and CBMT on the same channel 19 making more efficient use of the spectrum. Freeing up channel 21 would alleviate reception problems people may or may not be having with channel 22 currently being used by WCAX CBS Vermont. By freeing up channel 21 it would demonstrate some consideration from the CBC that they realize that some people prefer to watch television via antenna rather than be subjugated by the Pay TV Industry.

    I suspect there is pressure from the Pay TV Industry in this country not to make broadcast television or OTA too attractive to consumers as that would jeopardize the current monopoly they enjoy. Imagine if tomorrow for example everyone was fully aware of OTA TV and 86 channels or so were available free over-the-air like in Chicago, what would Pay TV have to say about that?

    Reply
  33. wreed

    “I suspect there is pressure from the Pay TV Industry in this country not to make broadcast television or OTA too attractive to consumers as that would jeopardize the current monopoly ”

    And you would be right…..already stations in montreal are off air a lot ( just over the last month almost every weekend and some weekdays they are off air overnight without notice) that will always be a drawback of ota tv.

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      already stations in montreal are off air a lot ( just over the last month almost every weekend and some weekdays they are off air overnight without notice) that will always be a drawback of ota tv.

      Are you suggesting the overnight shutdown of the Mount Royal antenna tower for maintenance is being done deliberately as some sort of cable company conspiracy?

      Reply

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