Free Over-the-Air TV Could Be Coming to an End for Many Canadians

Shaw Direct wants to terminate free programming in small cities and rural areas
Free Over-the-Air TV Could Be Coming to an End for Many Canadians
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission has been asked to cut off free over-the-air television signals to tens of thousands of Canadians living in small cities and rural areas.

As CBC News reports, Shaw Communications made the request to terminate the Local Television Satellite Solution (LTSS) in a recent application to the CRTC

Implemented in 2011 when over-the-air signal transmission was converted from analog to digital, the LTSS provided Canadians with minimum access to the country's television services, including channels such as CBC, Radio-Canada, CTV, Global and CityTv.

The 2011 signal conversion removed television service for viewers in rural areas across the country, in addition to viewers in smaller cities such as Kingston, Brandon and Kelowna.

Providing the free satellite service was part of Shaw's deal with the CRTC upon acquiring Global TV in 2010. The CRTC required the company's Shaw Direct satellite service (then branded Star Choice) to offer the program until its licence renewal in August 2019.

In a statement emailed to CBC News, Shaw said it would be "inappropriate" to comments on the LTSS while its application is being considered.

The CRTC is accepting public comments on Shaw's application until the end of today. The communications giant will make its final submission to the CRTC later this month.