The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission has approved “in part” applications to operate a national direct-to-home satellite distribution undertaking and a national satellite relay distribution undertaking.
FreeHD Canada wants to provide programming services (mostly Canadian content) to subscribers in both anglophone customers and francophone markets.
As well, it says it wants to distribute all conventional television stations that meet a certain threshold based on the number of hours per week of local programming, and it has positioned itself as a way to ‘save local TV’ if successful.
The CRTC says it is “supportive of initiatives intended to ensure that Canadians do not lose access to free conventional television services” when the digital transition comes to Canada.
The CRTC says it supports in principle the offering of a package of local conventional television signals at no monthly charge to the viewers, and is predisposed to take the necessary steps to permit this to occur.
But, the CTRC noted, it is already looking at other policies and procedures relating to local programming and funding mechanisms, so a decision about FreeHD’s plans would be “premature”.
The CRTC calls for amended applications and specific authorizations to help address such issue, and it noted that licence approval will be subject to general and specific conditions going forward.