Three Canadian direct broadcast satellite (DBS) providers have sought approval from the Canadian Radio-TV and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to offer local and regional broadcast television channels to viewers nationwide at no charge upon the completion of Canada’s digital television (DTV) transition. Incumbent DBS operators BellTV and StarChoice and start-up DBS firm FreeHD Canada filed their proposals with the CRTC upon learning that many broadcast stations in smaller markets would not be switching their signals to digital after the scheduled termination of analog broadcasts throughout Canada in August 2011. Although the CRTC is requiring all broadcasters in markets with at least two TV stations to switch to digital by the DTV conversion deadline, two of the nation’s largest broadcasters—CTV and Global Television—have said they will not digitize transmitters in smaller markets as fewer than 10% of Canadian homes rely exclusively on over-the-air TV programming. Sensing an opportunity to boost their competitive stance against Canada’s deeply-entrenched cable industry, all three DBS providers have offered to beam local and regional broadcast channels throughout the country at no monthly charge, although viewers would be required to pay a one-time fee of $275 or more for equipment needed to receive DBS service. Although FreeHD has yet to launch its service, the company hopes its plan to offer free local and regional channels (as well as 150 specialty pay channels) in high-definition format will prove to be a major selling point. The CRTC is expected to discuss the proposals at public hearings on broadcast issues scheduled this November.