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Yukoners may be eligible for free satellite dish

Yukoners may be eligible for a free satellite package through Shaw Direct if they call the company before Nov. 30.

Yukoners may be eligible for a free satellite package through Shaw Direct if they call the company before Nov. 30.

The Local Television Satellite Solution is available for people who have not been a cable or satellite customer in the last 90 days.

On July 31, CBC stopped its over-the-air analog television broadcasts. The CRTC had previously ordered television broadcasting must switch from analog to digital in many parts of Canada. The territories were exempt from the change.

CBC’s decision to end analog broadcasts has left many Yukoners without television access.

Details about Shaw’s program are hard to find. The company did not respond to several phone messages requesting interviews.

It’s important to know the program is customer-initiated, said Michael Pemberton, general manager of Erik’s Audiotronic in Whitehorse.

He was not aware of the program until a customer came in and asked about it, he said.

“I think it’s a great program,” he said. “Thank God somebody stepped up to the plate.”

Customers must call Shaw’s customer service line, choose the option for Shaw Direct and provide their postal code to see if they are eligible. They fill out an application to confirm whether or not they have been a cable or satellite subscriber in the past 90 days.

Shaw will install a satellite dish for the customer. It is unclear who covers the installation costs, Pemberton said.

“Shaw is not too forthcoming about their decision-making process,” said Steven May, a PhD candidate at Ryerson University and York University who is studying CBC’s conversion to digital broadcasting.

Eligibility requirements, which channels Shaw offers and how long viewers will receive them for free are unclear, he said.

May has spoken to people across Canada who have lost their CBC analog services. Situations vary, he said. He heard of an instance where Shaw did not install a dish that had to be 250 feet away from the customer’s house, he said. He hasn’t spoken with anyone from the North yet, he said.

While Shaw’s program has problems, it is still a good option, he said.

The LTSS program was part of Shaw’s purchase of CanWest. Shaw reserved a portion of benefits they received for providing free services for up to 31,500 households that lostS access to local stations as a result of the digital transition. Customers can call 1-888-782-7602 for more information.

Contact Meagan Gillmore at