Last Updated: Tuesday - 01/04/2011
August 20, 2001
Catholic TV finally gets green light
CANADIAN CATHOLIC NEWS
OTTAWA — The Eternal World Television Network - the world's largest religious network - may be viewed by cable subscribers in Canada as early as this fall.
An eight-year battle with Canadian supporters of EWTN ended July 13 when the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) added the Alabama-based Catholic network to its list of eligible satellite services for digital distribution.
The network, founded by Mother Angelica, a Poor Clare nun, was among 20 non-Canadian services added to the digital list. The digital channels will be available only to cable and satellite subscribers who have a satellite dish or set-top box for digital viewing.
"The cable companies will be able to twin or put these services in a package with other Canadian digital services," CRTC spokesperson Lise Plouffe told Canadian Catholic News.
"A foreign entity is not licensable in Canada but we allow their distribution by putting that foreign service on the list."
Covenant Communications and the Canadian Cable Television Association (CCTA) had filed a joint proposal with the commission to include the non-Canadian single-faith religious service in the amended list of eligible satellite services.
The federal agency in March invited public comments on the inclusion on the eligible list of 30 foreign TV services, including EWTN.
By the April 2 deadline it had received over 9,000 comments and two petitions containing more than 16,000 signatures. The majority was from Canadians who supported the addition of EWTN to the list.
Support also came from Catholic hierarchy from coast to coast, including Archbishops Adam Exner (Vancouver) Thomas Collins (Edmonton), Peter Mallon (Regina) and Terrence Prendergast (Halifax).
Fred Hill, the Canadian spokesperson for EWTN, told CCN July 16 he was "delighted and pleased by the decision" of the CRTC.
The Regina businessman was a leading force in the lengthy campaign to bring the world's largest religious network to Canadian viewers.
The CRTC did not place any special restrictions on cable companies wishing to carry EWTN as part of their service.
Hill said Canadians who want to watch the Catholic network should let cable companies know they wish to receive the service. "It is a good evangelizing and instructional medium," said Hill. "It's very loyal to the magisterium."
He said the companies will likely want to include EWTN in their cable packages "because it has an established viewing audience." Many Canadians already view it with satellite dishes, he noted.
Now, in its 20th year, EWTN can be seen in more than 66 million homes in 38 countries and territories.
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