CRTC continuing to monitor implementation of new basic television package and pick-and-pay
May 24, 2016
Calls television service providers to a public hearing in September 2016
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) today announced that it is calling certain television service providers to a public hearing to discuss how the new basic television package and flexible packaging options are being implemented across Canada. The hearing will begin on September 7, 2016, in the National Capital Region.
As part of the process to renew the licences of certain television service providers, the CRTC wants to ensure that they are offering the new options to Canadians in a manner that is consistent with its regulations and the spirit of its policy. In April, the CRTC asked companies to provide information on their basic packages and flexible packaging options, including on any additional products or services that Canadians have to purchase to receive the package.
The CRTC today published the updated responses it has received, as well as the applications for the companies whose licences were set to expire on August 31, 2016.
Canadians have until June 23, 2016, to submit their comments in one of the following ways:
- filling out the online form,
- writing to the Secretary General, CRTC, Ottawa, Ontario K1A ON2, or
- sending a fax to (819) 994-0218.
At this time, the CRTC intends to only call the following television service providers to the hearing: Bell, Rogers, Shaw and Vidéotron.
- Since March 1, 2016, all licensed television service providers must offer a basic package priced no higher than $25 a month (not including equipment).
- Since March 1, 2016, Canadians also have more options to add to that service as TV service providers must offer channels either individually or in packages of up to 10 channels.
- Starting on December 1, television service providers will have to offer pick-and-pay and small packages.
- Nearly 100,000 Canadians signed up for the new basic package since March 1st, 2016.
- A majority of these Canadians have also taken advantage of the new flexible packaging options by subscribing to individual channels, small packages or both.
- Canadians have multiple options to obtain television services, which can include a combination of the new basic package, individual channels, small packages, free over-the-air stations and Internet streaming services.
- Canadians also can continue to subscribe to large packages that include their favourite channels.
- In order to have sufficient time to hold this hearing, the CRTC has administratively renewed until November 30, 2016, the licences of television service providers whose licences were expiring September 1, 2016.
- Through this process, the CRTC will also impose conditions of licence relating to the Wholesale Code, which will ensure that viewers continue to discover and enjoy access to a diversity of programming, and the Television Service Provider Code, which will help Canadians make informed choices about their television service providers. Both codes will come into force in 2017.
"The new basic package and new flexible packaging options were introduced to give Canadians the ability to tailor their television services to their needs. Concerns have been raised, however, about how some television service providers have been implementing these new options. As we prepare for the full implementation of pick-and-pay, we will have an opportunity at the public hearing to verify whether their actions are in keeping with our objective."
- Jean-Pierre Blais, Chairman and CEO, CRTC