Canadian gov't to push cable providers to unbundle channels

TORONTO, Oct 13 (Reuters) - The Canadian government will soon require cable and satellite television providers to make it easier for customers to buy only the channels they want rather than pay for bundles, the country’s industry minister said on Sunday.

“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,” Industry Minister James Moore said during an appearance on CTV’s “Question Period.”

Some Canadian cable and satellite television providers have already begun to offer so-called “a la carte” pricing, a trend some analysts think could begin to take hold in the much larger U.S. market.

Moore said Canada’s Conservative government is looking at other consumer-friendly moves when the next parliamentary session resumes such as preventing airline overbooking and curbing wireless roaming rates charged by telecom companies.

“We also think that roaming fees are too high in this country. We know that there’s going to be a new regime put in place in the first week of December to cap international roaming fees, but we also want to move on domestic roaming fees as well,” he said.

“These are things ... on which our government is going to take action.”