Canada: Proposal Submitted for Terrestrial HD Network

Sounding a bit like the Canadian equivalent of American entrepreneur Mark Cuban, the man responsible for building the Air Canada Center in Toronto and creating the Toronto Raptors NBA team is asking Canadian authorities for a license to offer terrestrial HD programming that would cover much of populated Canada.

Entrepreneur John Bitove said last week if he is granted government permission, he would launch up to eight stations across the country that would provide free over-the-air broadcast signals available exclusively in HD, according to the Ottawa Citizen.

"Canadians are drastically falling behind in HDTV technology and it is critical that as a country we deliver high-definition programming around the clock to all Canadians," he said. Bitove said his new enterprise (to be dubbed "HDTV Networks Inc.") would be headquartered in Vancouver and include additional HD broadcast outlets in Halifax, Montreal, Edmonton, Calgary, Winnipeg, Toronto, and the nation's capital, Ottawa.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) said it will review Bitove's proposal and may call a public hearing. A final CRTC decision could be a year or more away.