Canadian regulators huddle up after messy mandated skinny bundle launch 

Bell headquarters in Montreal (Credit: oknidius/Flickr)

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) is holding hearings today in Ottawa with the country’s four biggest pay-TV operators, after the launch of mandated skinny bundles in March produced hundreds of consumer complaints. 

The CRTC mandate required operators including Shaw Communications and Rogers Communications to offer smaller programming bundles priced at $25 or lower.

Consumers and watchdog groups, however, complained that the operators are undermining the program, making their associated products unattractive and hard to sign up for.

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“The service providers went out of their way to make it difficult for all of us as consumers,” said Bruce Cran, president of the Consumers Association of Canada, to City News. “Overall, I don’t think we got anything of value.”

Cran also said that the $25 or under mandate isn’t being earnestly adhered to. 

BCE Inc.’s Bell TV, for example, offers a “starter” package for $24.95, but it requires customers to also purchase broadband and pay for installation fees — fees that were waived for customers signing up for higher tiers.

Shaw, meanwhile, has offered a “limited” package for $25, but also charges a leasing fee for its HD receiver. 

The CRTC said that around 177,000 consumers had opted for the reduced-rate basic packages as of June 30, out of an estimated 10 million TV service subscribers across Candada.

For more:
- read this City News story

Related articles:
Canadian regulators warn operators they have one week to come up with skinny bundles
Bell Canada's strategy for new government-mandated skinny bundles: don't promote them
Canada to propose forcing a la carte programming

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