Unbundling may cost viewers more, local TV providers say
Speech from the throne vows end to 'bundling' channels
The federal government's consumer-friendly pitch to TV viewers this week is getting mixed reviews from providers in northern Ontario.
Wednesday’s speech from the throne outlined plans to mandate the end of “bundling” in television services.
But Dan Regaudie, director of broadcast services for television provider Vianet, says the move may not actually save people any money.
“We basically agree with what Ottawa is saying, however, we are very concerned that the cost to the customer will actually go up,” Regaudie said.
He said channels could actually cost more if they are not part of a bundle, meaning people could pay more for less.
Regaudie also pointed out it would be difficult to figure out how to get companies to “unbundle” their channels.
“We are not quite sure how the federal government will actually mandate implementation of a pick-for-pay service because again, it's not just a question of saying to a company like ours: do this,” he said.
But one provider is already moving in the direction the federal government described.
Eastlink Northern Ontario now allows customers to choose some individual channels rather than just set packages (but the purchase of at least a basic cable package is still required).
“We actually had customers coming into our retail locations in northern Ontario and asking about it,” said Jack Nolan, the company’s regional general manager.
Regaudie said the CRTC, Canada’s federal broadcast regulator, is already examining the television industry, but major changes to anyone's television bill are unlikely until new regulations are set.