New cable rules go into effect across the country next week.
Effective March 1, companies like Access and Sasktel Max have to offer a basic cable package for no more than $25 a month.
Just a few days before the deadline, it’s still not known what Access Communications is planning to do.
The so-called “skinny packages” must provide local broadcast channels, APTN, the legislative channel and a handful of U.S. cable stations.
If consumers want more, they can select additional cable bundles at an additional cost.
Sasktel Max has been offering the service since Feb. 1. The company’s manager of external affairs, Greg Jacobs, says there has not been a huge uptake.
“At this time we have been seeing limited demand,” he says. “We haven’t really got a lot of feedback from our customers yet, but from what we can tell everything is going well.”
Jacobs says Sasktel has no problem with the new regulations which are being imposed by the CRTC, Canada’s broadcast regulator. The CRTC announced the changes last year, but gave cable companies until March 1 to implement them. Jacobs says the industry has to respond to customer’s needs.
“We have been in favour of a variety of customer selection for a while,” he says. “We offer a number of channels individually for customers. Really customization is where the industry is going so this just kind of speeds things up.”
Sasktel Max has about 100,000 subscribers and serves 27 communities. The new cable packages are available in all the communities it serves, including Prince Albert and North Battleford.
However, smaller communities and most of those in the north are served only by Access and some run their own cable TV.
Access has 70,000 subscribers in about 230 Saskatchewan communities.
It will unveil details of its new service Monday morning.