THE BLOG

Canadians Finally Have Access To Cheap Cable

03/01/2016 11:37 EST | Updated 03/02/2017 05:12 EST
Christina Reichl Photography via Getty Images
Human hand holding remote control changing Channels with television set.

It's here! Cable that costs $25! And I couldn't be happier.

A quick refresher: The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) decided in 2014 that cable and satellite providers must give consumers the option of a $25 per month skinny basic cable package. The option had to be implemented by March. 1, 2016.

On top of that by the end of 2016 providers were ordered to implement a pick-and-pay system, where consumers are allowed to top up their basic package with individual channels.

I do not have cable in my house. I watch Netflix. And for news I subscribe to The Globe and Mail.

But now, alongside the other 16 percent of Canadians that don't pay for cable, according to the CBC -- we have a reasonably cheap option.

Imagine that an option from the telecom industry. As Canadians we are milked from every angle by the telecom industry and quite frankly many of us are sore.

Canadians pay among the highest amount in the world for wireless service. For example, for a basic plan that includes texting, data and talking minutes the average in other industrialized countries is $22 per month; whereas in Canada we pay $37.29 a month, according to the Wall Report.

The story is similar for cable and internet. As a consumer you can only be taken advantage of by a corporation for so long -- there comes a point where you can't take it anywhere. We've reached that point.

Unsurprisingly, BCE, Rogers, Telus Corp., Quebecor Inc. and Shaw Communications Inc. are not fans of the new CRTC regulations.

In fact, Bell was blatantly against the CRTC proposal from the start. At the time Bell Media president Kevin Crull (who was let go in 2015) said it'd be bad for Canadians and that on-air programs would suffer.

Crull may be right and some programming may suffer, but the big telecom companies did this to themselves. They overcharged Canadians for too long and people are simply fed up.

The telecom giants also refused to adapt to the changing landscape of online services such as Netflix and Hulu making them even more out of step with consumer needs.

Moreover, instead of coming up with a solution and being part of the conversation that would allow Canadians to benefit from cable alongside internet services, they fought. They pretended they were fighting for us, but they weren't and we all knew it.

In the end, for most of us this is about more than a skinny basic cable package. It's about the telecom industry not ripping us off for once. It's about finally being able to pick a service from Rogers or Bell that we feel good about. We spoke and the CRTC listened.

Next up? Let's see if we can get cell phone bills lowered.