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February 21, 2023 11:18 am  #1

Why "Skinny Basic" Cable May Cost You More - Even If You Don't Have It

Remember the craziness over so-called "Skinny Basic" back in 2016? That's when the CRTC made a big deal of forcing cable/satellite companies to launch a tier of channels that would give subscribers who chose it a select and very small range of local TV stations for $25 a month. 

It came as no real shock that what the reluctant providers offered was one of the worst possible range of stations and almost no one went for it. Now the unhappy cable companies are back - and surprise! - they want more money. A request by several of them, including Bell and a few others out west, want to not only be able to raise the price of the "money saving" tier to $28 a month, but also be given permission to escalate it further according to the rate of inflation. They blame an increase in the price they pay for access to the channels for the requested hike.

The Commission is considering the request from the cablers and is inviting submissions from the public and other interested parties to intervene before it makes a final decision. According a press release on the CRTC site, they made the request in January "to increase the current $25 price cap for the small basic service to $28, and that it be adjusted on a yearly basis starting on 1 April 2023, based on the annual Consumer Price Index for the period ending 31 December of the preceding calendar year."

Hardly what the CRTC intended when this thing was introduced.

But - another surprise! - even if you never opted for the cheap basic, your cable bill still might increase. It's been reported that if the CRTC denies the request, the companies will raise the prices of other packages to make up the difference. And that affects a much larger number of Canadians.

"...The parties collectively submitted that a minimum of 1,515,708 subscribers could be subjected to an increase in their monthly bill. The Commission notes, however, that multiple parties indicated that they had not yet ruled out applying the increase to other subscriber segments, which could ultimately lead to a greater impact on Canadian...subscribers."  

If you'd like to put in your two cents (or more like $3) you have until Feb. 27th to get them to the CRTC. (And it's no small thing - so far more than 450 people have already filed comments.) But whatever they decide, you just know you will be paying more sometime in the near future. Because they always find a way to squeeze more out of your already strained wallet, which is "basically" getting increasingly "skinny."

CRTC "Skinny Basic" Price Hike