The CRTC (Canadian Radio-television Telecommunications Commission) has ruled that it will allow subscribers to purchase a basic $25 a month cable TV or satellite package and have individual pick-and-pay options after that. It will be called the “skinny package” !

That new cable package is capped at $25 a month and will consist of local stations and mandatory channels, such as APTN, TVO, CPAC, educational channels and accessibility channels, with the option to include up to four American “affiliate” channels (NBC, ABC, CBS and Fox), plus PBS.


Subscribers would then be able to choose the channels they want to add and either pay for them individually or create their own bundles, the so-called “pick a pack” or “pick-and-pay” option.

By comparison, the cheapest online advertised television package for Rogers customers in Ontario is $40.48 a month for “190+ channels,” while Bell offers Ontario customers more than 150 channels on both Fibe and satellite options for an advertised price of $41.98 a month on its website.

CRTC chair Jean-Pierre Blais commented that in a sense the decision was forcing the industry to finally face that the world is changing.

The CRTC also announced Thursday that those who want to switch cable companies no longer have to give 30 days notice.

The not so great news is that the deadline still looms a year away and looks to be December of 2016 with the new basic package being available by March 2016.

News channels from CBC and CTV will not be included in the basic cable package. CBC News Network will be mandatory in Quebec, while French-language news channel RDI will be mandatory for Canadian provinces and territories outside Quebec.

Consumers will have the option of keeping the cable packages they already have.

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