Rural Saskatchewan communities left out of some 'skinny' cable bundles

A rural Access Communications customer is upset she won't be able to sign up for the company's new 'skinny' cable bundle on March 1.

Access Communications says new offerings fit within CRTC's mandate

Not all Access Communications customers will be able to sign up for its new 'skinny' cable options starting March 1. (Ed Bailey/Associated Press)

Access Communications says not all communities will get the perks of the new small cable bundles that it will start offering March 1.  

The company is putting the final touches on small cable bundles it will offer to adhere to a new CRTC rule. The new packages include local stations, as well as some mandatory channels like APTN and CPAC. 

The changes stem from a CRTC mandate that takes effect next month. The mandate forces cable companies to offer these stripped-down options at a cost of no more than $25 per month. 

It wouldn't seem right to me if say someone down in Regina could get their $25 skinny package and I still have to pay $78 a month.- Karen Robertson, Access Communications customer

The new bundles will be available in only a fraction of the 230 communities Access Communications serves, including around bigger centres like Regina and Estevan. 

Marketing Manager for Access Communications Tami Mitchell said it fits within the CRTC mandate.

"The CRTC has certain regulations where they only mandate it in some of the larger systems," Mitchell said.

Customer questions fairness   

That's not sitting well with customers like Karen Robertson, who are left out of the new options. 

Robertson lives in the village of Air Ronge, Sask., just south of La Ronge. She said she has a basic package and two add-ons, which costs her $78 per month. 

"It wouldn't seem right to me if say someone down in Regina could get their $25 skinny package and I still have to pay $78 a month," Robertson said. 

Mitchell said the company is providing the service to as many customers as it can right now.

Several other companies have already launched their new services, including SaskTel's introduction of Lite maxTV on Feb 1. The service is available to all 27 communities the company offers cable services in. 

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