Satnews Daily
February 10th, 2010

FreeHD Canada — Freebie Programming (With A Proviso...) (SatBroadcasting™)

Susan Krashinsky of the Globe and Mail is reporting that a satellite TV upstart has won limited approval to do business in Canada. The new company, FreeHD Canada Inc., applied last August for permission to offer a package of local television channels at no charge — if customers agree to buy the equipment necessary to pick up the company's satellite signal.

BCE Inc. and Shaw Communications Inc., which operate Bell TV and Shaw Direct, respectively, have made similar proposals. FreeHD is also planning to offer an additional package of 150 pay and specialty channels. Yesterday, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission approved the licence, but said that FreeHD will have to operate under the same rules as other satellite providers. That means its basic package cannot include local stations only; such providers are required to include certain channels, such as at least one CBC station and one Radio-Canada, APTN and the Weather Network. The larger pay package must also follow rules requiring services like adult channels to be optional to consumers.