Recently, The Globe and Mail reported that Prime Minister Stephen Harper is backing pick-and-pay TV options.
Simply put, Harper believes that people should be able to pick which television channels they want and only pay for the ones they want. Currently, if you were to walk into a Rogers or Bell or any other provider location and sign up for cable, you would have a few packages from which to choose, each of them stacked to the brim with channels that you don’t care about, but you’ll choose one that has most of the channels you want.
The idea behind pick-and-pay TV options is that it would be cheaper for subscribers because they would only have to pay for the channels they plan on watching. Around the same time as Harper’s announcement, just down the street from Parliament in Gatineau, Let’s Talk TV hearings were being held, where some voiced concerns that changing the television systems to a pick-and-pay program could actually end up being more expensive for consumers, and even “kill” some channels.
In the end, The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) gets the final say when it comes to changing television regulations, and the federal government can only attempt to influence any decisions. Recently, the federal government also pushed for similar subscriber programs for cellphone contracts and fees for paper bills.
In a way, the SWIFT project is looking to provide a similar consumer experience – the experience of having more options. When it comes to Internet service, there are plenty of providers willing to compete with the big boys, which would lead to lower, competitive monthly prices for subscribers.
Just like how you shouldn’t be forced to pay for a bunch of channels that you’ll never watch, you shouldn’t be forced to choose between as little as one or two Internet providers.