BUSINESS

New 'Skinny Basic' Cable Packages Must Be Promoted, CRTC Tells TV Providers

02/17/2016 05:06 EST | Updated 02/18/2016 05:59 EST

TORONTO — Canada's broadcast regulator is reminding the country's TV service providers that they must soon begin to offer and promote so-called pick and pay cable and satellite TV packages.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission issued an information bulletin Wednesday to remind the telecoms that they must promote this service in some way to consumers in less than two weeks, said CRTC chairman, Jean-Pierre Blais.

Under a March 1 deadline set by the CRTC, all Canadian TV providers must offer a "skinny basic" package of channels — priced $25 or less — and either a la carte channel selection or small bundles of channels. By December, these companies must offer all three options.

The new CRTC regulations arose from consultations with Canadians about TV choice and affordability.

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But so far few of the telecoms have announced what their basic packages will include.

VMedia announced its skinny package in June with 28 channels for less than $18. Shaw now offers a $25 limited-TV package with 40 channels.

So far, none of the other major TV providers — Bell, Telus or Rogers — have listed basic cable plans priced at $25 or less online.

They are not required to do so until March 1.