Eight days of public hearings hosted by the CRTC on the future of local television continue on Wednesday with Cogeco and other broadcasters airing their views to Canada's broadcast regulator.
The Montreal-based broadcaster was first to speak on Wednesday, telling the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission about its plans to offer local television programming in several markets where it doesn't currently operate, as long as the regulatory framework is conducive.
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"Our position upholds the importance we have always placed on being involved and present in the heart of communities, ensuring their voices can continue to be heard," Cogeco vice-president Johanne Hinse said.
The broadcaster says it plans to operate offer through its existing CogecoTV stationslocal news and information programming to 14 communities (seven in Ontario and seven in Québec) which do not have any local television news and information programming at present.
The company already provides local televised news and information programming through CogecoTV in North Bay, Ontario but the company says it has developed a specific plan of action in line with the Commission's proposal, based on our own experience in North Bay.
"We would leverage this experience for the other 13 communities targeted in our plan," a spokesperson for the company told CBC News.
But those plans hinge on the CRTC setting up a proper regulatory framework that would allow companies like Cogeco to continue to operate in what has become a perilous financial environment for broadcasters, the company says.
The telecom regulator is holding hearings on the future of local television as part of its ongoing "Let's Talk TV" initiative, which has already brought about some major changes to cable television rules, including mandating that cable firms must offer so-called "skinny basic" cable television packages to consumers for $25 a month starting in a few weeks time.