Beginning Tuesday, Canadian TV viewers have a choice between their bulky cable or satellite services, or a slimmed-down service many are calling “skinny basic.”
Cable and satellite TV companies, like Bell and Rogers, are now required to offer their customers a basic service package that costs $25 or less.
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, the country’s broadcast regulator, ruled last year that cable and satellite TV providers must offer a cheaper and pared-down option for customers.
The leaner packages must include at least 10 local or regional stations, in addition to educational programming and legislative channels where available. The CRTC’s mandatory distribution list includes CBC, Global and CTV, as well as public interest stations like APTN and minority French or English language channels.
Though some are providing US networks, that’s not a requirement under the new rules.
Consumers will be able to add individual channels, or bundles, if they desire more variety.
Currently, companies can offer the extras in what the CRTC has described as “reasonably priced” small bundles, such as “theme packs” or a “build-your-own” package. By December, providers will be mandated to offer both.
The CRTC did not limit the amount companies can charge for an individual add-on.
Customers will also face additional monthly charges, including rental of an HD or SD box.