Canadians now have access to ‘Skinny Basic’ cable television packages thanks to new CRTC regulations that kicked in this week.
Now, cable, satellite, and IPTV providers must offer a slimmed-down basic package that has local channels, and must-carry channels. They can also choose to offer American and educational channels, however they aren’t required. These packages can cost at most $25, however providers are allowed to add equipment rental fees to these plans.
For example, in Winnipeg MTS offers 24-unique channels in its skinny basic package, including:
- Local stations: CBWFT, CBWT, CKY, CKND, CHMI, and CIIT
- American ‘big 4+1’ networks: ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC and PBS
- Other channels include: The Weather Network, APTN, and AMItv, along with several french language channels.
Interestingly, RDI (the French equivalent of CBC News Network) is included in the skinny basic, while CBC News Network is not. However, the CRTC only requires that the minority language network be carried in a majority-language market.
Another thing to note, the new skinny basic packaging may not be the ideal choice for sports fans as the five TSN channels are not included in the skinny basic package, and must be ordered separately at an additional cost.
The rollout of skinny basic packages is the first of two major transitions for the cable industry this year. Later this year, providers will be required to offer all their channels unbundled, offering consumers the chance to ‘pick-and-pay’ for only the channels they want to subscribe to.