The CRTC and the country’s four biggest television service providers are in for an earful this week over the rollout earlier this year of skinny-basic TV.
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission will kick off a public hearing Wednesday to discuss how the new, trimmed-down $25 packages have been offered to consumers.
The Consumers’ Association of Canada says it heard hundreds of complaints in the weeks after the CRTC mandated the packages, effective March 1, many expressing disappointment that the long-awaited arrival of lower prices and more TV choice didn’t meet expectations.
Association president Bruce Cran says it appears many cable providers went out of their way to make the mandated offerings as unattractive as possible.
While the packages themselves had to cost $25 or less, that price often excluded routine discounts, such as those offered for bundling two or more services, but included extra fees for necessities such as the rental of a digital TV box.
But while he faults the service providers for pushing the boundaries of fine print, Cran says the CRTC must also take responsibility for failing to give clear guidelines to the service providers for what was, and wasn’t, an acceptable pricing model.