TORONTO - Rogers Communications Inc. will test a program to offer television customers more flexibility, in response to the federal broadcast regulator's call for more consumer choice.
The pilot program in London, Ont. will start on Nov. 8 and run until the end of March, Rogers said Tuesday.
It will offer 86 channels, including government-mandated channels, for a base price of $20.29 including all monthly fees.
Customers can add 15, 20 or 30 more channels for additional fees, the company said.
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission has said distributors need to give Canadians more flexibility in choosing the channels they want in their TV packages.
The regulator has given companies like Rogers, Bell Canada, Quebecor Media, and Shaw Communications a deadline of next April 1 to open up their offerings.
There is already some choice in the marketplace now.
For example, Quebecor's Videotron cable service offers packages with some options and additional packages of 10 or 20 channels that viewers can pick.
Bell offers a similar a-la-carte service in Quebec and Telus has TV theme packages.
Some analysts have said more flexibility is going to be introduced gradually in the marketplace, but have noted there are about 20 channels that TV distributors must carry, including the CBC and Radio-Canada.
Despite calls for tougher rules on online movie and TV services like Netflix, the CRTC has said there's no evidence traditional Canadian broadcasters are being harmed by the new digital rivals and no new regulations are needed.