Cable firms must offer $25 basic TV, pick-and-pay channels

CRTC moves to unbundle traditional cable TV, guarantee customers more choice

Cable subscribers will soon have more options under the latest CRTC decision.

Cable and satellite TV companies have been ordered to offer subscribers affordable basic packages capped at $25 a month and a pick-and-pay system to add more individual channels rather than the larger bundles now offered.

Customers have complained for years they’re forced to pay too much for packages full of channels they mostly don’t want and that even basic cable costs too much.

The CRTC gave cable companies one year to offer the low-priced basic package and until the end of 2016 to offer either individual pick-and-pay supplements or reasonably priced small bundles.

Basic packages must include all local and regional TV stations, public interest channels like CPAC and APTN, education or community channels, and the B.C. Legislature channel.

Ethnic and third-language channels would be in the pick-and-pay universe and providers must offer at least as many of them as they do non-ethnic channels.

“It is about setting out a roadmap to give all Canadians the freedom to choose the television content that meets their unique needs, budgets and realities,” said CRTC chairman Jean-Pierre Blais, who noted households can also opt for free over-the-air TV via antenna. “Each household will be able to find the right value proposition.”

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