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CRTC helps Canadians take control of TV services

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has set out best practices for TV service providers to ensure Canadians are offered real choice regarding their services and have information about their options.

To follow these best practices, providers should, among other things: provide information about the new choices that will be available as of December 1st 2016; keep their offers simple and transparent; offer deals and discounts regardless of the entry-level package selected; provide online tools allowing subscribers to easily add or remove channels; and offer different options to obtain a set-top box.

The CRTC is also renewing the licences of most TV service providers for one year, rather than the usual seven-year term. This will enable the CRTC to closely monitor the TV providers’ practices as they implement the new TV choices.

These new options will enable Canadians to create their own package for TV services. Canadians are encouraged to shop around to ensure they are aware of what is available in the market if their service provider’s offers don’t meet the needs or the budget of their household.

Quick facts:

  • Since March 1st 2016, all licensed television service providers must offer a basic package priced at no more than $25 a month (not including equipment).
  • Some smaller providers like Access, Zazeen, Rangtel and Beanfield have been offering the small basic package at less than $25 a month without having to subscribe to other services.
  • Since March 1st, 2016, Canadians also have more options to add to that basic service, as TV service providers must offer channels either individually or in packages of up to 10 channels.
  • Starting on December 1st, television service providers will have to offer both pick-and-pay and small packages.
  • The service providers’ actions regarding these new TV choices will be closely monitored in the year to come to ensure that they respect the best practices highlighted by the CRTC.
  • As a result of the CRTC proceeding, some providers announced plans to change practices that were not consumer friendly.
  • Canadians have multiple options to watch TV programming, which can include a combination of the new basic package, individual channels, small packages, free over-the-air stations and Internet streaming services.
  • Canadians are encouraged to use the new CRTC online tools to help them identify their needs and budget, shop around and negotiate for TV services.

Jean-Pierre Blais, Chairman and CEO, CRTC, commented: “Starting on December 1st, Canadians will have greater flexibility in choosing how they subscribe to TV services. We have set out best practices for television service providers and created online tools to help Canadians navigate this new world. We encourage Canadians to shop around, as some providers are offering consumer-friendly options that include a basic TV package at less than $25 per month.”

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