Upon receiving numerous complaints regarding add-on fees that turn making economy cable TV packages into pricy bundles, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) said it is demanding that cable companies produce a detailed report on their basic TV offerings.
Cable service providers whose basic TV packages that fail to meet CRTC standards could face trouble when they renew their broadcast licenses, the regulator said.
As of March 1st this year, cable TV viewers were provided access to basic TV packages priced at no more than $25/month. The so-called “skinny TV” plans came with a pared-down selection of TV programs and channels. Viewers have the option to purchase more channels if they want to. Under the scheme, TV service providers must offer channels either individually on in packages of up to 10 channels.
Many of the complaints received by the CRTC are around the issue of extra fees added to the basic packages that make the plans more expensive, according to report from the CBC. There are suspicions that TV providers have intentionally made the skinny TV packages unattractive to gouge viewers into adding more channels to the basic plans.
The CRTC said it is reserving judgement until it has all the facts. The CRTC report demanded by the regulator from the TV service providers is part of their licence renewal process.
The CRTC will make the reports public within weeks, and Canadians will also have a chance to provide input on the matter, according to Eric Rancourt, spokesman for the CRTC.