Canadian Government to Force Cablers to Unbundle TV Channels

9:15 AM PST 10/14/2013 by Etan Vlessing

"We don't think it's right for Canadians to have to pay for bundled television channels that they don't watch," industry minister James Moore said Sunday.

TORONTO -- Canadians could soon pick and pay for the Canadian and American TV channels they want, and not see them bundled with less popular domestic channels for protection and promotion.

Federal industry minister James Moore on Sunday said his government's Throne Speech on Wednesday will include proposed legislation to force local cable and satellite TV operators to unbundle TV services.

"We don't think it's right for Canadians to have to pay for bundled television channels that they don't watch. We want to unbundle television channels and allow Canadians to pick and pay the specific television channels that they want," Moore said during an appearance on CTV's Question Period.

Other consumer-friendly proposals from the ruling Conservatives include boosting wireless phone competition to reduce charges, and capping smartphone roaming fees.

The CRTC, Canada's TV watchdog, has already OKed moves by domestic cable and satellite TV operators to allow consumers to select more of the TV channels they want and remove those they want.

But the carriers warn greater pick and pay channel selection and fewer expensive packages will not necessarily reduce cable and satellite TV bills.

Instead, the cost of the fewer channels Canadians select could increase, and the pricing for less popular TV channels could also grow.

Domestic carriers have bowed to consumer demands as Netflix Canada and other U.S. digital platforms increasingly draw Canadians online to view TV content.

And greater flexibility for Canadian TV viewers could become a trend that spills over the border into the U.S. market.

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