Cheaper Cable Coming to Mississauga… Sort Of

 

Starting today, Mississauga residents (and Canadians in general) can purchase cheaper, "skinny" cable packages that cost about $25 a month.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) mandated that service providers release the more affordable packages on March 1. While the packages come in at an attractive $25-ish price point, the pick and pay options could cancel out any savings customers were expecting to enjoy.

According to a recent CBC article, the pared-down packages might not be quite as affordable as people hoped. A Rogers customer named Andrew Hiscock told the CBC that the company's $24.99 basic starter pack was going to cost him more than his current cable package after accounting for the additional channels he would have to purchase separately. Adding popular channels like HGTV, CNN, sports and children-friendly channels ballooned costs, cancelling out savings.

The CBC article also points out that Bell packages can also end up costing more than expected. The company is also offering a Starter pack and it comes in at a seemingly sweet $24.95. It offers about 25 Canadian networks and additional channels can be purchased for $4 or $7 each. Ten channels can be purchased for $37.

According to a recent article in the Toronto Star, the Bell deal has some expensive caveats. If you want to purchase the brand's cheapest package, you have to have a Bell internet subscription (which starts at $64.95 a month) and a PVR ($15 a month rental fee).

The worst (but, to be fair, expected) aspect of the much-anticipated unveiling is the limited choice involved. While news junkies might be satisfied with Rogers inclusion of CBC, City TV, Global, ABC, Fox and French language channels (if they're both news junkies and Francophones), others might find the slim selection a little disheartening. You can't save a ton of dough and still enjoy premium programming like that offered by, say, HBO or Showtime. If you want to fall asleep to Girls or Togetherness, you can't do it for 25 bones a month.

It's not particularly underhanded or sneaky, as consumers can't expect a jar of caviar for the price of a hot dog. If you want graphic swordplay and sex scenes with thrusting (and boobs), you have to shell out a few extra shekels.

That said, the CRTC told the CBC that they're keeping an eye out for "anti-consumer behavior," telling the news organization that, "we will not hesitate to act if we see some companies disregarding the wishes of Canadians."

That said, the limits will disappoint customers who believed they could mix and match for less. For this reason, sources in the CBC article advise customers to negotiate with their cable providers for more suitable deals.

So, Mississauga, if you want more selection for less, you might have to bargain with Bell or Rogers to save on cable. While many will argue that it's probably just easier to stream everything from here on out, there's something special -- and perhaps even a little vintage -- about inviting friends over to watch HBO or award shows or sports in real-time. Those people deserve more affordable packages that suit their needs.

Happy negotiating!

Here is Rogers' TV Starter Package

Here is Bell's

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