Shaw tuning back into Spokane

Web Lead

  • Aug. 4, 2011 12:00 p.m.

After pulling the plug on Spokane channels, Shaw is listening to its West Kootenay customers and switching back to the southern friend today.

Shaw will spend “several million” on building and connecting Greater Trail, Castlegar, Nelson and Creston to its fibre-optic network, which ultimately means it will have the backbone to support a Spokane signal and expand its services, according to Shaw’s vice president of operations.

Connecting the West Kootenay to Shaw’s fibre optic will enable them to deliver new broadband Internet packages, recently launched in all of its fibre-friendly communities.

The sudden change-of-heart stems from the telecommunications provider recently adjusting its U.S. network feeds in the region –replacing five Spokane-based stations with four from Seattle and one out of Detroit.

The move was made to meet requirements made by the Canadian Radio-television Telecommunications Commission to ensure time zones were matched with stations to have consistent High Definition and Standard Definition feeds in place before Dec. 31 this year.

“The challenge we’ve had in the Kootenays is that we currently acquire our feed by satellite and we were unable to acquire both feeds on satellite,” explained Shaw’s Chris Kucharski Wednesday.

“We have until the end of the year to make that compliant and we made the original decision to move the signals, but, quite frankly, we didn’t anticipate the level or extent from which we heard from our customers.”

Among the locals who made their voices heard was Brent Cantarutti, a 20-year-old university student who is back home in Rossland for the summer.

The history and political science major, not only made a presentation at Warfield council last Wednesday but also connected with MP Alex Atamanenko, local politicians and tweeted with Shaw, the CRTC and the Spokane news channel. He feels the West Kootenay is detached from Seattle, which was the only news feed received via Shaw for the past couple of weeks.

“You’re basically grabbing a lifelong customer,” said Cantarutti, touching on his frustrations with the lack of attention Shaw gave to the switch. “You’re making deals with my age group, that we continue to purchase TV, and I haven’t had an issue with you and now you go and do something like this in the era of customer choice – supposedly right?”

With his great-grandfather settling in the community in 1906, Cantarutti said he’s aware of the historical linkage – from capital flowing from the American city in support of the Rossland mines to a rail connection and even the first local television station came from Spokane.

If historical ties or bang-on weather forecasts weren’t enough to appreciate the Spokane news, economic opportunity was also a reason to complain, according to Warfield council.

“It just doesn’t bother everyday people, it really has an impact on commerce and our relationship with recreation because we do tons of advertising in Spokane,” said village councillor Tom Milne at a regular meeting last week. “Seattle is like another world, they’re not here; they’re not adjacent.”

Just as in the past, Cantarutti sees that the region needs Spokane in order to economically diversify and is pleased to hear Shaw has reconsidered.

“This region, technically isn’t that small, when you think of up until the late ‘80s that it still was a major economic base for the province, you don’t forget that and then treat the people here like they’re are no longer important,” he said, pointing to the “subversive” notice given to West Kootenay Shaw customers. “We aren’t rural – not like you’re living on a farm in Saskatchewan where you have 10 miles in between houses – there are at least 30,000 people living in this area, who don’t deserve to be back-handedly treated.”

He congratulates Shaw for making the right choice but still can’t help but feel someone from higher up cracked the whip.

Just Posted

Two minutes of silence

This year I was very upset when the requisite Two Minutes of Silence was missed/overlooked/forgotten

Disheartening to see the campaign urging Creston voters to say no

Our firefighters have been doing an excellent job within the limitations of their current facilities

Building Unity and Loving One Another

Difficult to understand that the editor has allowed an organization to take a pot shot at the Catholic Church

Creston’s Ralph Heald has been given French’s highest award for his WWII service

Ralph Heald found speaking about his WWII experiences difficult until a successful application for the rank of Knighth of the French National Order of the Legion of Honour unleashed his memories.

Locums help fill medical gaps

The Creston Valley Health Working Group has been successful in recruiting new physicians to the area, but locums are also an importantn piece in a challenging puzzle

VIDEO: Rare comic showing Superman’s 1st appearance to be auctioned

The 1938 comic features Superman hoisting a car over his head

An adopted cat is the best 10 pounds you’ll gain this season

BC SPCA encouraging families to add a forever feline friend during adoption event Nov. 24 to Dec. 3

Uber official says public needs to push for ridesharing in B.C.

Mike van Hemmen tells Kelowna Chamber of commerce ridesharing would be ‘win-win-win’

B.C. co-ops relieved with Ottawa’s housing strategy

Federal government to have a new co-operative housing funding model in place by 2020

B.C. NDP referendum plan sparks legislature battle

David Eby says public will decide on proportional referendum

Hammy has been freed of his threads, a purple antler remains

The iconic Prince Rupert buck with a piece of hammock attached to his antlers was caught by COs

COLUMN: Taking another look at Kelowna

Columnist Donna Macdonald finds many things to love about the city Nelsonites love to hate

Court adjourned again for man linked to Shuswap farm where human remains found

Curtis Sagmoen will appear back in court on Dec. 14

B.C. family advocating for drug decriminalization following death of son

Federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh has noted the New Democrats would decriminalize personal possession of all drugs

Most Read