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The Globe and Mail

The CBC should be available across the land

Over $1-billion taxpayer dollars a year help fund the CBC, but on Sept. 1, some taxpayers could be forced to pay twice for it. It's a bureaucratic crack into which Canadians in Saskatoon or Kitchener, Ont. - to name just two affected communities - should not have to fall.

Blame the switch from analog to digital TV transmission. The CRTC is requiring the shift in most communities, forcing the shutdown of some analog transmitters. But the CBC is building only 27 digital transmitters - not enough to fill the gap. Without a fix, hundreds of thousands of Canadians who don't want to splurge on cable or satellite will go without.

There are several options. The federal government could direct some of the money from a forthcoming auction of spectrum - airwaves becoming available because of the transition - to the CBC, so that they can install more digital transmitters. The CRTC could relax its rule and some analog transmitters to stay open. Or the CBC could buy more digital transmitters on its own.

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All of these institutions should work together, to ensure that Canadians are not deprived of their national broadcaster.

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