Nova Scotia

Analog CBC-TV fans eligible for free service

There's a free solution for people who once received CBC-TV's over-the-air analog signal.

There's a free solution for people who once received CBC-TV's over-the-air analog signal, which was shut down across the country on July 31.

"There is an excellent solution for the people who are affected by this and it's called the Local Television Satellite Solution. It's a program being offered by Shaw Direct," said Angus MacKinnon, director of communication services with CBC.

Shaw is providing satellite equipment and installation, plus a package of five local stations — all for free. It's part of an arrangement the company made with the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission when it acquired Global TV in 2011.

To qualify for the program, you have to prove you haven't been a cable or satellite customer in the past 90 days.

Myron Syms, who lives in Cheticamp, qualifies for the free satellite service — for years he's watched CBC-TV with his old rabbit ear setup.

"On Aug. 1, when I went to turn on Coronation Street for my wife on the TV, there was nothing there," he said.

Syms didn't want to pay for a satellite or cable package so he bought a digital translator box for his TV.

The trouble is there are no digital transmitter towers in Cape Breton, so those boxes don't work.

MacKinnon said the digital translator boxes may pick up other broadcasters, but not the CBC. He said about 1.7 per cent of Canadians are in Syms's situation.

The deadline to apply for Shaw's program is Nov. 30. The free service will only be available for the next five years.

After that time, people like Syms may have to start paying for their CBC-TV.