CRTC issues updated guidelines for providers

Murissa Barrington

BIZ/TECH REPORTER

Canadian cable providers have been put on notice after the CRTC issued guidelines last month to ensure the companies’ practice fairness.

In a news release on Nov. 21, the CRTC said that providers are being given some “best practices” to follow, to ensure all Canadians receive a “real choice regarding their services.”

This announcement comes after numerous cable customers complained that the $25 skinny basic packages being offered by companies weren’t as skinny as they appeared to be.

The CRTC made it a requirement in March 2015 for cable companies to provide a slimmed down cable package for $25 or less.

The CRTC has received many complaints about the lack of advertising for the new package, and hefty rental or purchase fees for cable boxes that are required for the service. Some are also upset with the fact that at some companies, getting a starter package meant losing out on discounts that were offered to customers with pricier plans.

Shenika Reid, a first-year Practical Nursing student at Humber, is happy with the changes being made by the CRTC, saying some of them helped her family switch to a more affordable cable bundle.

“You have to shop around with everything to get a better deal,” Reid said. “But at least it’s more regulated now because before you used to be locked in a long, long, contract where you’d have to pay a fee to get out. Even with the cell phone plans. So, I would say it’s getting better but they can still do more.”

CRTC Chairman and CEO Jean-Pierre Blais said Canadians deserve more flexibility in choosing how they subscribe to TV services since changes came into affect Dec. 1.

“We have set out best practices for television service providers and created online tools to help Canadians navigate this new world,” Blais said. “We encourage Canadians to shop around, as some providers are offering consumer-friendly options that include a basic TV package at less than $25 per month.”

Humber College Web Design and Development coordinator Tomasz Borzecki says cable television is obsolete and that Internet streaming is the future that needs to be protected.

“I think stricter regulation of the telecoms is required, as they are completely out of control and have a dangerous grip on the content we all need to consume, much like their counterparts in the US,” Borzecki said in an email response.

Borzecki also mentioned he hasn’t had cable television for the past six to eight years and doesn’t plan to look back.

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