CBC will miss digital deadline

Will need extra year to bring transmitters online

The Canadian Broadcasting Corp. will miss Ottawa’s August 31, 2011 deadline to switchover from analogue to digital.

The public broadcaster told the CRTC it will have 15 digital transmitters on stream by the upcoming digital TV deadline, but needs another year to August 2012 before another 12 digital transmitters will be operational.

Ottawa and the CRTC have already said they will not delay the August 31, 2011 changeover, despite protests from conventional broadcasters over the high cost of the digital transition.

So the CBC will need an extension from the CRTC to not fully convert by next August, and continue offering analogue signals beyond the shut-off date.

“We believe that our plan is appropriate given our financial challenges, given our mandate, and given industry trends,” said Steven Guiton, VP and chief regulatory officer.

As part of its current plan, the CBC intends to have digital transmitters for an English-language TV service operational in major centres like Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton, and additional digital transmitters for Radio-Canada in Montreal, Quebec City, Toronto, Ottawa and Rimouski, among other major centres.

That will leave until August 2012 for additional digital relay stations to bring the CBC’s English language service to secondary markets like Winnipeg, Winsdor and Halifax, and Radio-Canada to Vancouver, Edmonton, Regina and Winnipeg.