Rogers Cable has announced it will begin trials of a new TV package in London, Ontario next week called the Digital Starter Pack.

Available beginning November 8th and running until the end of March 2012, the Digital Starter Pack will include what Rogers calls "86 core TV channels" for $20.29 per month. Rogers says the price includes all monthly fees.

The trial is in response to the CRTC's demand in September that cable companies offer consumers a "skinny basic cable" service which consists of a limited number of television channels at a lower monthly cost and more so-called “à la carte options” which enable consumers to pick and pay for the channels they want.

The CRTC contends that Rogers, Shaw, Videotron and Bell are using their oligopolistic powers to force consumers to subscribe and pay for many unwanted channels therefore the federal regulator is attempting to use moral suasion to make the consumer friendly changes.

“We heard it loud and clear from consumers … You do not offer consumers the choice they want and deserve,” said CRTC chairman Konrad von Finckenstein in an interview with the Globe and Mail in September. “They see it on the Internet, they see it on mobile, and they say, ‘Why can’t I have it here when I buy programming from cable or satellite?’ ... Let them make the necessary strides.”

Rogers is expected to announce the results of the London trial to the CRTC in April 2012.

Currently Rogers offers a Digital Basic package of 146 channels which consists of just over 80 television channels and 60 audio channels for $36.01 per month. The company did not say which 86 channels would be included in the starter pack but Digital Home presumes the channel line-up will look similar to the basic package currently on offer.

The current basic line-up (shown below) consists primarily of Preview channels, Pay per View Channels, demand channels which cost extra to watch, many free over-the-air channels (10 CBC channels, 4 CityTV channels, 5 CTV channels, 3 Global channels), OTA Ethnic channels, Religious channels, sales channels and Rogers owned digital specialty channels such as SportsNet.

Discuss in Digital Home's Rogers Cable forum

Rogers Basic Digital Cable

The following is the current list of channels in Rogers Basic Digital Cable line-up (does not include over 60 audio channels consisting of various AM/FM radio stations and Galaxy audio stations) from which Rogers is expected to draw from for its new starter package.
  • ABC Buffalo (WKBW)
  • APTN (Aboriginal Peoples Television Network)
  • ATV Halifax (CTVAT)
  • CablePulse24
  • CBC Calgary (CBRT)
  • CBC Halifax (CBHT)
  • CBC Newsworld/Voiceprint (SAP)
  • CBC Oshawa (Channel 12 CHEX TV Durham)
  • CBC St. John's (CBNT)
  • CBC Toronto (CBLT)
  • CBC Vancouver (CBUT)
  • CBC Winnipeg (CBWT)
  • CBS Buffalo (WIVB)
  • CHCH
  • Citytv Calgary
  • Citytv Toronto
  • Citytv Vancouver
  • Citytv Winnipeg
  • CPAC English (main audio) (Cable Public Affairs Channel)
  • CPAC French (main audio) (Cable Public Affairs Channel)
  • CPWA FM Portuguese Radio Toronto
  • CTS (Crossroads Television System)
  • CTV Calgary (CTVCA)
  • CTV Kitchener/London (CTVSO)
  • CTV News Channel
  • CTV Toronto (CTVTO)
  • GameTV
  • Global BC (CHAN)
  • Global Calgary (CICT)
  • Global Toronto (CIII)
  • Grace TV
  • Joytv 10
  • Joytv 11
  • Mediaset Italia
  • Metro 14
  • Multicultural Free Preview Channel
  • Multicultural on Demand
  • NBC Buffalo (WGRZ)
  • NFL Network On Demand
  • Pay Per View 23
  • Pay Per View 3
  • Pay Per View 5
  • Pay Per View Preview Channel
  • PBS Buffalo (WNED)
  • RDI
  • Real Estate Channel
  • Rogers On Demand
  • Rogers TV
  • Rotisserie Channel
  • ShopTV Canada
  • Sports Preview Channel
  • Sportsnet East
  • Sportsnet Ontario
  • Sportsnet Pacific
  • Sportsnet West
  • SRC Toronto (CBLFT)
  • SUN TV
  • Télé Québec (CIVM)
  • TFO (CHLF)
  • The Accessible Channel
  • The Aquarium Channel
  • The Cottage Channel
  • The Shopping Channel (tSc)
  • The Sunset Channel
  • The Weather Network
  • TLN en Espanol
  • Treehouse On Demand
  • Treehouse
  • TV Call Display
  • TV Listings
  • TV Mix - Kids
  • TV5
  • TVA Montreal (CFTM)
  • TVOntario (TVO - CICA)
  • TXT-TV
  • VisionTV
  • VoicePrint
  • W Network (East)
  • WNLO Buffalo (CW23)
  • WNYO Buffalo (MyNetworkTV)
  • Your World This Week
  • YTV (East)
  • YTV On Demand