News about media and the regulatory environment both inside and beyond Canada's borders.
OTTAWA - GATINEAU: The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission set out best practices for TV service providers yesterday. The unofficial regs are meant to ensure Canadians are offered real choice regarding their services and have information about their options.
In a statement announcing the regs, the regulator said that the TV providers must follow these best practices by providing information about the new choices that will be available as of Dec 1. Furthermore, they are to 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 Commission 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," the statement reads.
Continuing: "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. There are many online tools on the CRTC's website to help Canadians find the best services and negotiate with their provider."
Since March 1, 2016, all licensed television service providers must offer a basic package priced at no more than $25-per-month (not including equipment).
Some smaller providers like Access, Zazeen, Rangtel and Beanfield have been offering the small basic package at less than $25-per-month without having to subscribe to other services.
Since March 1, 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 1, 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.
"Starting on December 1, 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." -- Jean-Pierre Blais, Chairman and CEO, CRTC
Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2016-458 – Review of practices relating to the small basic service and flexible packaging options and other matters related to the licence renewal of broadcasting distribution undertakings
CRTC continuing to monitor implementation of new basic television package and pick-and-pay
CRTC welcomes new era of choice for TV viewers
You Have Choices
Additional information on the basic TV package
In March 2015, the CRTC announced changes to the way TV services are offered following the Let's Talk TV conversation. During this extensive process, Canadians told the CRTC they wanted more choice, flexibility and affordability in TV services. These changes ensure Canadians have the ability to choose the television services that meets their unique needs, budgets and realities.
Since March 1, 2016, Canadians can subscribe to an affordable basic TV package that costs no more than $25-per-month (excluding equipment). According to information filed with the CRTC, the following television service providers are offering the small basic package at less than $25-per-month:
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