by CBC News Posted: May 24, 2016 12:34 PM ET
Canada’s broadcast regulator has called four TV companies in for hearings on the launch of the $25 basic packages. (CBC)
Canada’s broadcast regulator said Tuesday it is calling four television providers to hearings on the recent launch of the so-callled “skinny basic” cable packages.
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission said it intends to call Bell, Rogers, Shaw and Vidéotron to the hearings, which will begin on September 7.
CBC News reported on May 13 that the CRTC asked TV providers questions about their $25 basic packages including price. The answers to those questions were to be published online and the public given the opportunity to comment electronically by June 23.
The CRTC-mandated skinny basic packages — which were supposed to cost no more than $25 per month, plus equipment — began hitting the market on March 1. Cable companies also had to offer channels either individually or in packages of up to 10 channels.
The CRTC said 100,000 Canadians have signed up for the skinny basic packages since the launch.
“The new basic package and new flexible packaging options were introduced to give Canadians the ability to tailor their television services to their needs,” said Jean-Pierre Blais, the chairman and CEO of the CRTC. “Concerns have been raised, however, about how some television service providers have been implementing these new options.”
Beginning December 1, television service providers will have to offer consumers the ability to add channels either individually and in small packages.
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Important to note that the initial call is only for the four telecoms that are content producers. Telus, notably, is not being called. It is arguably the biggest opponent of “skinny” TV in this market. Try approaching a Telus mall booth and asking about the $25 plan. You’ll get quite a lecture and no brochure. Telus has firmly instructed its frontline people to make nothing in print available about the $25 plan. Shaw, on the other hand, has been quite above board and has included the optional US channels in its package.