'Skinny basic' cable packages unveiled in Saskatchewan

Cable companies in Saskatchewan have unveiled their low-cost "skinny basic" cable packages — and there are some differences depending on what company you choose.

SaskTel, Shaw, Access required to offer budget bundles starting today

Access Communications is one of the Saskatchewan cable companies that are offering a "skinny" bundle of channels. (CBC)

Cable companies in Saskatchewan have unveiled their low-cost "skinny basic" cable packages.

The Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission mandated that by March 1, all cable companies had to offer a slimmed-down package of channels for $25 or less.

Access Communications, which serves Regina, Estevan and other communities, says it will be offering something called AccessMicro for $19.95 a month ($9.95 a month for those already subscribing to the company's internet service).

Access says it will include 26 channels with 10 of those in high definition (HD). The 26 include the usual Canadian channels (CBC, CTV and Global) plus five American networks (ABC, NBC, Fox, PBS and CBS).

AccessMicro will be available in the following communities: 

  • Regina
  • Emerald Park and White City
  • Balgonie
  • Coppersands
  • Pilot Butte
  • Bienfait
  • Midale
  • Milestone
  • Weyburn and Estevan
  • Yorkton
  • Melville
  • The Battlefords

However, the company had previously said its low-price bundles will not be available to some customers in rural areas.

Skinny cable packages vary in Saskatchewan. (CBC)

SaskTel, meanwhile, is offering Lite MaxTV for $25 a month. It rolled out its skinny bundle on Feb. 1.

A list of available channels showed 19, with six of them offered in HD if you subscribe to the HD service.

Another section on SaskTel's Max web page said HD is $10 a month.

SaskTel's skinny package does not include U.S. stations, specialty sports, all-news channels, or music channels. The company is offering those as add-ons. Channels such as HBO will also cost customers more.

Skinny cable packages have different costs. (CBC)

In Saskatoon and other areas, people can subscribe to Shaw Cable. Its skinny package is called Limited TV. 

It includes 33 channels, including several American ones, for $25. However, Shaw requires customer to rent an HD box for $5 a month.

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