Hagensborg, BC: 2nd Community to Salvage CBC Equipment to Maintain Free Service

Hagensborg, BC is the second community that CACTUS is aware of that has salvaged CBC equipment in order to maintain CBC TV free to air. “The story of television in the Bella Coola Valley is one of community perserverence and ingenuity” says John Morton of the Hagensborg TV Society. “We rebroadcast 6 television signals and 3 radio channels using a community-owned transmission tower” he says. “The CRTC at first refused to licence our system back in the 1970s, because the CBC had reported that it was technically impossible to have TV reception in the Bella Coola Valley. This was a surprise to those of us who had witnessed--among other events--the moon landing in 1969!”

Hagensborg is one of over 600 communities that was slated to lose free over-the-air CBC and Radio Canada service on July 31st of last year, the date the CBC turned off its analog over-the-air transmission network, and began retiring equipment. The Hagensborg TV Society offered the CBC a nominal amount for the analog transmitter, receivers, modulators and amplifiers, which would likely have been scrapped. “The community is really delighted to have been able to re-establish over-the-air service. Many in our community can't afford satellite TV. Although there are some costs to maintain the tower and pay downlink fees for the channels we want, it works out to only about 60$ per household per year, which is really affordable."

Hagensborg is a community of about 300 households, located in the Bella Coola Valley near the coast of BC. Catherine Edwards of the Canadian Association of Community Television Users and Stations said, “There was no reason for any community to lose existing services because of the digital transition. What was missing was a clear communications package about the transition ahead of time from government and from the CBC, explaining how communities could maintain the equipment if the CBC pulled out. As far as we are aware, the only communities that have acquired CBC equipment and ‘turned the CBC back on’ since the July 31st cut-off date are well established societies like this one. BC has an amazing history of TV societies and community-based ISPs that offer their communities everything from highspeed wireless Internet, to remote television and radio services, to local TV and radio content.”