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$25 Basic Cable

X318
I plan to stick around

I currently have digital light TV. Roger's told me that if I move to an area that has Ignite available then I would not be able to subscribe to any RF TV package (which Roger's calls digital cable). I would have to subscribe to an expensive Ignite bundle which includes IPTV if I wanted to get TV service from Rogers. The $25 basic TV package would not be available to me. Is Rogers not mandated to have the $25 basic package available to everyone?

 

 

 

***Edited Labels***

29 REPLIES 29

Re: $25 Basic Cable

mebe
I'm a trusted contributor
This year, Bell and 3 other providers asked the CRTC to increase the cost of the Starter Pack from $25 to $28, with the option for annual rate increases based on inflation.
If approved, it will apply to the other providers like Rogers (even though it didn't ask for it).
The CRTC is taking comments from the public until October 28, 2022 (most likely to fall upon deaf ears, but miracles do occasionally happen).

Re: $25 Basic Cable

57
Resident Expert
Resident Expert

The $25 was a somewhat arbitrary number chosen about 6 or more years ago.  Should they keep that number forever?

Re: $25 Basic Cable

mebe
I'm a trusted contributor
When I checked the CRTC site just now, it shows the end date to respond to this Starter Pack price increase issue is actually November 28, 2022.
The Toronto Star article mentioned Oct 28 as the deadline, and I'm pretty sure the CRTC website also listed Oct 28 as the previous deadline.
So I'm assuming that the deadline to respond was extended by a month.
Since the channels in the Starter Pack are mostly obtained via OTA, I assume that Rogers pays next to nothing to maintain the Starter Pack, and thus I would expect that added inflationary costs each year are not needed to keep up with channel cost increases.
Would a $3 price hike one more time before the legacy digital service disappears bother me? Not really, but if it goes up the next year to a price that makes it less inviting to stick around, I would probably cancel.
If IgniteTV still had a Starter Pack with no Internet addon necessary, I might try that for a year or so, simply to see how many flaws I could find with it, and if those flaws ruined my overall viewing experience, as compared to OTA antenna and free wifi tv viewing that still satisfies most of my needs.

Re: $25 Basic Cable

-G-
Resident Expert
Resident Expert

@57 wrote:

The $25 was a somewhat arbitrary number chosen about 6 or more years ago.  Should they keep that number forever?


The answer is yes... and no.

 

Here's the problem:  TV was once a service that was enjoyed by the masses, rich and poor, because the programming was provided by the originating network, paid for by advertising, and could be received for free using nothing but an antenna.  You could (and still can) get many TV channels for free, over the air, IF you live in a major metropolitan area.  You could also get a good TV service almost anywhere IF you were willing and able to shell out $50/month (or more) for a big bundle of channels + $25/month for each set-top box rental... but that put access to "essential" TV channels out of reach for many people.  The $25 "basic bundle" was the regulated solution to make access to basic TV channels affordable again for most people.

 

Things have changed now that TV is now being delivered over high-speed Internet links.  If you get TV as an add-on to your Internet service, many of the smaller TV providers offer more channels than Rogers does in their Basic service, usually for less than $20/month.  It ridiculous that Rogers is stripping channels from their Ignite Starter bundle (and ALL of their Ignite TV bundles) and still wants to charge more.  I also think that it is unfair for Bell, Rogers and Telus to be required  to offer a $25/month TV service that also requires a broadband connection for delivery, and to provide that network connectivity at no charge.  However, since the big incumbents (who also control the content rights for many of the basic channels) also blocked competitors from offering an OTT TV service, I have little sympathy for any of them... and I hope that the $25/month cap for "Skinny Basic" sticks.

Re: $25 Basic Cable

mebe
I'm a trusted contributor
I would agree that the Internet has changed things, especially when we speak of content that was previously unavailable, or at least less prevalent via the Internet.
The poor still have access to high-speed Internet through Public libraries or special reduced rates from Rogers and other providers.
I would also argue that free wifi in malls, or near individual stores, etc., are improved versions of OTA antennas ...Television content for the masses, albeit less convenient than your own home antenna.
They say that content is king, but for me, now that I've had Internet access to an overwhelming amount of content that never stopped coming ... Convenience is king.
If it's unfair for the CRTC to force companies to provide free broadband access, so that Starter Pack channels can be delivered via the Internet, well, it's only a matter of time until the virtual "rent control" that the Starter Pack gets from the CRTC is revoked.
Once Rogers made the mistake of making it tougher to maintain my $35 to $45 Internet-only plan, I just cancelled and switched to free wifi, and eventually returned to Rogers legacy digital for some exclusive content and the convenience of recording content with my owned PVR.
I think of the Internet as both a super-powered OTA antenna, and an endless PVR/DVR, that allows anybody with advanced or quite often basic knowledge of the Internet to buy or steal most of what they desire.
The fact that the Internet can be so easily manipulated by both the content distributers and the
(potential) customers themselves, makes all of this a game of tug-of-war that often goes back and forth with no end, and no actual loser.
The Internet has evened the playing field, but in order to gain the advantage back, companies have decided to raise prices, or reduce the amount of content you can receive for that "low price" of entry to their walled gardens.
If you can figure out a way to get the content you want without paying a lot for the Internet, you will usually triumph. 📺💰

Re: $25 Basic Cable

-G-
Resident Expert
Resident Expert

@mebe The CRTC does not require companies to provide free Internet.  For Bell to offer a "skinny basic" Fibe TV service, they provide the customer with a modem to access their network so that the Fibe TV receiver will work, but Internet access is blocked.  However, in addition to the $25/month price for the Starter TV package, Bell also requires that customers rent a PVR for an additional $20/month, which makes their offering uncompetitive.  They  still makes a ton of profit, although customers would be crazy to buy it.  Same goes for their Satellite TV alternative, but satellite may be the only service that many rural customers can get.  Yet Bell, along with Cogeco, Bragg and SaskTel are lobbying for a price increase.

 

Contrast Bell's pricing with Rogers Business TV where for $38.99/month, you get the Business VIP package with a ton of channels and a set-top box rental included.  (Why don't we see this pricing for Residential TV?)

 

I presume that the end-goal for the price increase is really to make the basic TV service an unappealing offering, so that they can then make a case for abolishing it.

Re: $25 Basic Cable

mebe
I'm a trusted contributor

There's a lot to unpack here.
First of all, I find it very difficult to believe that the CRTC has enough power to do anything meaningful for the masses. I can't even take this current situation seriously enough. The CRTC wants Canadians to basically beg for something to stay the same, that is already considered to be a failure by most.
In fact, I was quite often getting new subscriber deals and follow-up tv package offers either better than those Rogers business deals you linked, or close to them before the Starter Package for the masses was introduced. But now that I use the Internet (especially free wifi) as a tool to even the playing field, I'm much better off than when I had those $10 and $18 monthly deals (with only a regular box and no PVR).
Since the Starter Pack doesn't include free equipment like the box (and/or perhaps the modem), the enticing price point for entry level has to be lower than $25.
I think I was paying $18 plus tax for a fairly good tv-only package (just before the Starter pack deal came into effect), so I assumed that the lame $25 starter pack offering would at least include the set-top box (it didn't). Heck, I even had a $10/month new subscriber deal (before the $18 deal) with all (or almost all) of those basic tv business plan channels, also with a free box rental.
Sure, Bell doesn't give you access to the Internet, but you need its precious Internet to gain access to the tv channels. Yet more ammunition for it to demand a premium increase each year.
Yes, the end goal to have so few takers of this Starter Package house of cards, so that they can lobby to kill it off sooner rather than later, makes it easier to have a higher entry-level price to enter their walled gardens.
I still love the ability to use the Rogers PVR to get exclusive content, and even basic content from the Rogers walled garden. However, perhaps in the not-too-distant future, it's the free wifi access that will come under fire, while the CRTC fights for a $75 Starter Pack entry-level price.
Your argument to hold the line at $25 is a strong one. Even I can hear the violins playing in the background as the CRTC asks "What about the Rural viewers? Have you no shame?" 🎻🎼🎶

Re: $25 Basic Cable

mebe
I'm a trusted contributor
I still have the digital Starter pack, but I noticed that the CRTC once again briefly reopened this process from Feb. 20, 2023 until Feb. 24, 2023, to allow the broadcasters to submit comments based on new data about how many subscribers could have their bill increased if the CRTC passes the application for the $3 increase.

If it's a small number of subscribers that would be affected, I assume Bell and the gang would just say it's no big deal. If it's a large number of subscribers, Bell might just reiterate how much money it stands to lose if it can't raise prices to keep up with inflation and innovation.

I expect the CRTC to cave to the owners of Crave, and allow the price increase to happen.

CRTC ... Can't Reduce The Cost

Re: $25 Basic Cable

mebe
I'm a trusted contributor

I just noticed that the CRTC has already DENIED Bell and the gang's request for the $3 price increase.

Rogers has a $3 Prime Time package which includes the main US OTA channels that are still in my Starter pack. So if those US channels are no longer available to new IgniteTV Starter Pack subscribers, the Starter pack value would be diminished.

https://crtc.gc.ca/eng/archive/2023/2023-308.htm

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