Last week, Canada’s big three cable companies got called on the carpet by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission to explain their implementation of so-called skinny basic packages mandated by the regulator last year.
With Bell, Rogers and Shaw owning not only the majority of content creation and distribution rights but also the distribution channels themselves, it should not be shocking that, even with the CRTC’s insistence on consumer choice, there is not any real motivation for change.
For example, Games of Thrones fans without a cable subscription in the United States can subscribe to HBO Now for $15 (U.S.) a month, either as a stand-alone streaming service or as an add-on to a cable-like streaming service called SlingTV that starts at an affordable $20 a month. The only way to gain access to this content legally in Canada is with a cable or satellite subscription.
For Canadians who truly want to “maximize choice and affordability,” as CRTC policy is designed to do, the legal options are limited.