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Consumers eye new options as CRTC-mandated trimmed down TV takes effect

Last Updated Mar 1, 2016 at 7:02 am PDT

(iStock Photo)

OTTAWA – As of today, Canadian TV viewers have a choice between their beefy cable or satellite services or a slimmed-down service dubbed “skinny basic.”

Cable and satellite TV companies are now required to offer their customers a basic service package for $25 or less.

The requirement is part of a range of new regulations adopted last year by the country’s broadcast regulator, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission.

Channel lineups must include at least 10 local or regional stations, as well as educational programming and legislative channels where available.

Providers don’t have to include U.S. networks, but some are.

As well, consumers will be able to add individual channels, or bundles, to the so-called skinny basic services.

While the cheaper basic service may appeal to Canadians on a tight budget, at least one industry analyst predicts the vast majority of consumers will opt for bigger TV packages that include a wider array of channels.

In launching the new pick-and-pay model last year, CRTC chairman Jean-Pierre Blais acknowledged that many consumers would likely not see any cost savings from the new measure.