Community Distribution: Setup Costs

The setup costs for distribution of television, radio, (wireless) Internet and other services can vary enormously, depending on geography, how big your community is, what brands you buy, what quality you want, and whether there are technicians resident in your community that are willing to help you install it at low cost.

The figures provided in the links below are low-end estimates for the major equipment you'll need, supplied to us by communities who are currently offering these services. They have often begged, borrowed, and called in favours to arrive at the most economic solution.

Some of the pros and cons of rebroadcasting versus cablecasting include:

  1. Coverage

    Depending on your geography, you may be able to reach people over a wider area by rebroadcasting with a high-power transmitter. Cable networks tend to be cost-effective in densely populated towns and cities, where houses are close together, or in apartment blocks.

  2. Number of Channels and Services

    While each digital transmitter can carry a maximum of about a dozen SD TV channels, and you have to keep adding another transmitter to offer more channels--you can carry hundreds of HD channels over a cable network, including broadband Internet.

    Rebroadcasting is therefore a cost-effective way to offer residents a relatively small selection of TV and radio channels, and possibly wireless Internet. Residents who want more channels and can afford them will still have the option of subscribing to a satellite TV service.

  3. Maintenance

    While rebroadcasting (because of the geographic and technical complexities) may require more engineering assistance to set up, it requires very little maintenance. If there's a problem with the transmitter, it will affect everyone all at the same time, and can be fixed at one central location.

    When new residents move into the area, all they have to do is put up an antenna to access the services.

    Outages in a cable network, on the other hand, can occur anywhere in the community if the cable is damaged by weather or human activity. When new homes or neighbourhoods are constructed, the network has to be extended.

    To pay for such maintenance, cable co-operatives charge residents subscription fees, but they're generally lower than those paid for a comparable offering by a private commercial cable company, since surpluses are reinvested in the service.

Go back to main Costs page.