Canada asks regulator to study unbundling of TV channels

Image of TV with multiple channels. (Fotolia.com)

Image of TV with multiple channels. (Fotolia.com)

Jessica Murphy, Parliamentary Bureau

, Last Updated: 8:18 PM ET

OTTAWA -

The feds want Canada’s broadcast regulator’s advice on unbundled TV so they can move forward with promised pick-and-pay cable packages.

Heritage Minister Shelly Glover asked the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission to study the issue and report back to the federal government by April 30.

“We want to ensure they do a full and specific examination of this issue so we have a complete picture of the impacts for consumers,” said Glover on Thursday.

“And it’s only through getting this full examination that we can capture that.”

The Conservative government committed to bringing in pick-and-pay packages for cable and satellite TV in October’s throne speech.

Glover pointed to a handful of telecommunications companies — Bell Canada, Rogers and Quebec’s Videotron — that are already moving away from ready-made plans.

“Nothing is stopping providers in actually moving in this direction,” she said. “It demonstrates this is what consumers are asking for.”

Glover said despite companies taking steps towards more consumer choice, she still thinks the government has a role in pushing for more flexible packages.

Some telecommunications companies have voiced support for more consumer choice, but warn it comes at a cost to providers already struggling as viewers tune in to new options like Netflix.

The CRTC is already in the midst of consulting on the broad issue of the future of TV, changing viewing habits, and where and how Canadians watch programs,

It’s holding online consultations until Nov. 22 and will launch public hearings on the issue next fall.


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