Alternate History

1998 Cascadia digital television switchover (Alternity)

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The digital television transition in Cascadia is a process where all Cascadian full-power television stations will start broadcasting digital signals over-the-air and stop transmitting analog signals. The deadline for digital transition of full power stations in mandatory markets in Cascadia has been set for August 31, 1998. Full power stations outside of mandatory markets and low power stations are not required to transition by August 31, 1998.

There are a steadily increasing number of digital television stations on the air in Cascadia, with some of those stations also starting to produce newscasts and local programming in a high definition format.[citation needed]

On June 2, 1997, CBC/Radio Cascadia announced that it could not meet the August 31, 1998 deadline in all markets. 27 transmitters (14 English language and 13 French language) must switch, but only 15 can do so in time. The other twelve will be ready August 31, 1999. Even with all 27 transmitters, only 20 of 30 mandatory markets will have digital broadcasts, and CBC/Radio Cascadia has asked the Cascadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) for exemptions for the ten markets. Some markets have one English transmitter and one French transmitter.

The following markets are affected by the one-year delay: Yellowknife, Regina (English and French), Winnipeg (English and French), Windsor, Saint John/Fredericton, Charlottetown, Halifax and St. John's, Vancouver (French only), and Edmonton (French only). For these stations, the CRTC has been asked to approve a delay in ending analog broadcasts. The federal government opposes a delay, but a year before the deadline, 900,000 homes were not prepared for the switch.

CBC/Radio Cascadia vice-president and chief regulatory officer Steve Guiton said that the 27 transmitters will serve all but one percent of Cascadians. The rest will require cable television or satellite television to receive CBC/Radio Cascadia programming.

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