In a ruling handed down on Monday, the CRTC says television stations in Whitehorse, Yellowknife and Iqaluit may continue to broadcast analog television transmissions after August 31, 2011.
The regulator says television transmitters in the rest of Canada will still have convert from analog to digital by the beginning of September.
The decision (see complete text below) came after broadcasters in the far north said they intended to shut down five of the six television transmitters in those markets rather than incur the expensive transition to digital. The only transmitter that was slated to remain in operation after September 1st was the CBC transmitter in Yellowknife.
Confronted with the loss of five transmitters and considering the fact that their continued operation would have no impact on television stations in adjacent markets, the commission concluded that it was no longer appropriate to include Whitehorse, Yellowknife and Iqaluit on the list of markets designated for mandatory conversion to digital television.
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Broadcasting Regulatory Policy CRTC 2011-184
Route reference: 2010-167
Ottawa, 14 March 2011
Over-the-air television service in Whitehorse, Yellowknife and Iqaluit
1. In Broadcasting Regulatory Policy 2010-167 , the Commission set out a list of markets designated for mandatory conversion to digital television. These markets include the National Capital Region and all provincial and territorial capital cities, as well as markets either served by multiple originating stations, including Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) stations, or with populations greater than 300,000.
2. Since the publication of Broadcasting Regulatory Policy 2010-167 , broadcasters have filed their plans for digital conversion in mandatory markets. Given that the continued operation of analog transmitters in Whitehorse and Yellowknife would not be permitted beyond 31 August 2011, broadcasters intend to shut down five of the six television transmitters in those markets. Only the CBC transmitter in Yellowknife would remain in operation and that transmitter would be converted to digital.
3. The Commission notes that the transmitters in Whitehorse and Yellowknife are located in small and remote markets, that they do not operate on channels 52 to 69 and that their continued operation would have no impact on television stations in adjacent markets. The Commission further notes that there are no full-power over-the-air analog television transmitters operating in Iqaluit that would be subject to mandatory conversion to digital.
4. The Commission is therefore of the view that it is no longer appropriate to include the territorial capitals Whitehorse, Yukon, Yellowknife, Northwest Territories and Iqaluit, Nunavut on the list of markets designated for mandatory conversion to digital television.
5. Accordingly, the Commission hereby revises the list of mandatory markets for conversion to digital television set out in Broadcasting Regulatory Policy 2010-167 as follows:
- British Columbia: Vancouver, Victoria
- Alberta: Calgary, Edmonton, Lethbridge, Lloydminster
- Saskatchewan: Regina, Saskatoon
- Manitoba: Winnipeg
- Ontario: Toronto (includes Barrie and Hamilton since their stations compete in the Toronto market), London, Windsor, Kitchener, Thunder Bay
- Quebec: Montréal, Québec, Trois-Rivières, Sherbrooke, Rivière-du-Loup, Saguenay, Rouyn-Noranda/Val d’Or
- New Brunswick: Saint John, Moncton, Fredericton
- Nova Scotia: Halifax
- Prince Edward Island: Charlottetown
- Newfoundland and Labrador: St. John’s
- National Capital Region (Ottawa-Gatineau)
6. The Commission is also issuing today Broadcasting Information Bulletin 2010-719-2 , which sets out revised lists of analog transmitters involved in digital conversion that are operating in mandatory markets and analog transmitters involved in digital conversion that are operating on channels 52 to 69 outside mandatory markets. These revised lists reflect the determination in this regulatory policy.
- Analog transmitters mandated for digital conversion, or operating on channels 52 to 69 in non-mandatory markets,Broadcasting Information Bulletin CRTC 2010-719-2 , 14 March 2011
- A group-based approach to the licensing of private television services, Broadcasting Regulatory Policy CRTC 2010-167 , 22 March 2010