Canada's satellite operators don't have room for more local TV

Here's a thought for the FCC as it tries to wrest 500 MHz or so of spectrum away from U.S. broadcasters. If the over-the-air spectrum is gone, somebody has to carry the local channels and, if you listen to Canadian satellite providers, it might not be the satellite guys, which could open a whole can of competitive worms among the various service providers and local broadcasters.

Executives from Canada's two direct-to-home satellite providers told the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), roughly the equivalent of the FCC, that raising the requirements to transmit local stations from every broadcaster in every market would take up too much capacity for them to remain competitive.

The CRTC has been asked to set an "ultimate goal" of "carriage of all local stations in their local markets" but the satelliteers claim they can't--not won't--can't.

In the U.S., the FCC is proposing to take away broadcaster spectrum and rely on service providers--cable, telco and satellite--to pick up the carriage slack. That would mean, in essence, carrying every one of potentially six digital broadcast signals for every station in a local market.

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