Newspaper article The Canadian Press

What You Need to Know about the Arrival of Basic Cable Packages

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

What You Need to Know about the Arrival of Basic Cable Packages

Article excerpt

What to know about skinny TV packages

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TORONTO - Canadians now have the choice to pay no more than $25 a month for basic cable as the deadline for the CRTC-mandated so-called skinny cable and satellite packages dawned Tuesday. The new regulations came after the federal regulator's Let's Talk TV campaign, launched in 2013, found Canadians wanted more choice and affordability from their cable providers.

Here's what you need to know about the so-called skinny basic TV packages:

What's a basic cable package?

Basic cable packages must include at least 10 local and regional TV channels, public interest channels (like the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network), educational programming, community channels and legislative channels where available.

Is that all that's included?

That's the bare minimum for skinny cable packages. They may also include local AM and FM radio stations, up to 10 non-local TV stations and another province or territory's educational programming if there's no local alternative.

Some U.S. networks may also be included.

Shaw, Rogers, VMedia and Cogeco offer some U.S. channels in their basic packages, according to their online offerings, while Bell, Telus, Videotron and Sasktel do not.

What if I want other channels?

Customers can also choose to pay extra and add on supplementary channels to their basic cable packages through either individual, a-la-carte channel selections or small, pre-packaged bundles of up to 10 channels.

The CRTC mandated all cable providers must offer one of those choices by March 1, and must offer both options to consumers by December.

Some companies are already offering both pick-and-pay individual channel and bundle choices.

Rogers customers, for example, can add premium channels to the $24.99 starter package or pay for theme packs ranging from $3 to $18.

So does it cost less than previous plans? …

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