NEW OPPORTUNITIES: COMMUNITY DISTRIBUTION
Before satellite TV was introduced into Canada in the late 1990s, many remote Canadian communities had no TV. There were no broadcast transmission towers that reached them and they were too small to attract the attention of cable operators. Many of these communities either:
- Built their own transmission towers and paid for microwave or satellite uplinks to obtain remote signals from television broadcasters.
- Laid out their own cable infrastructure from house to house, by which they could distribute remote television signals to local residents.
Many of these communities still enjoy these TV transmission infrastructures. Some have added a community TV service as part of their local package. Others are now adding free wireless Internet, and emergency and weather information services. Many do it for a fraction of the cost per household of subscribing to a commercial cable or satellite service, and have the added benefit of local content.
For example, Valemount BC, with about 500 households, retransmits 6 remote TV channels and 3 remote radio channels in addition to a local community channel for about $40 per household per year. Residents pay for these services through their local taxes.
Small communities throughout Manitoba and Saskatchewan have cable co-operatives. Like Valemount, they choose the television services they want on the cable network, and they offer a local community channel.
Both options involve some start-up costs, but not as much as you might think. Over-the-air transmission equipment can sometimes be added to existing towers or buildings. By initiating conversations with your local broadcasters now, it may be possible for communities to access their towers, or maintain their towers and transmitters if the broadcaster leaves.
Click here to find out How to Distribute TV and Other services.
Click here for help Estimating Costs.
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To learn more about community broadcasting and rebroadcasting in Valemount, see the web site of the Valemount Entertainment Society.