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Bell launches à la carte options in Quebec with a catch

February 15, 2010

“TV just got better for subscribers in Quebec, who now have the ultimate control and flexibility to get the channels they want.”

That’s a quote from Kevin Crull, Bell’s president of residential services, and in a word, it’s bullshit. In classic Bell fashion, it’s another straight-faced lie to consumers. Yes, Bell is finally allowing Quebeckers to pick and choose channels, something people have been able to do with Videotron for years, but unlike the competition, Bell has chosen to keep some channels off the à la carte list, meaning you’ll need to pay more to get everyday cable channels like CNN.

Hilariously, Bell calls the channels it won’t let you pick and choose from “The Favourites,” because, um, why would anyone want to pick and choose from a favourites list! So if you want some of specialty-TV’s most popular channels, like CNN, A&E, TLC or MuchMusic, you’ll need to pay $5 more for the privilege. Is Bell’s new à la carte option a decent option for some people? Yes, albeit not an exceptional one. Does it give consumers “ultimate control and flexibility” as Bell states? Not at all.

Bell's à la carte options missing several highly watched channels

Let me give some credit to Bell, they are counting TSN & TSN2 as one channel and bundling up east & west feeds of several channels. However, most people are going to need to add that favourites package (below) to get exactly what they want.

Give us $15 for $15 channels, and then give us another $5 to see Wolf Blitzer.

Apparently for Bell, letting you pick Much More Music but not Much Music is all about giving you “ultimate control.” I should also point out you need to subscribe to Bell’s basic package before being able to add the à la carte options, further adding to the monthly cost.

Bell has so far only rolled out pick and choose options to Quebec. Why? Because Videotron has been wiping the floor with Bell in the province during the last decade. Let that be a message for the rest of you Canadians: Ditch Bell en masse and maybe you’ll get a better deal in 10 years.

In the meantime, I suggest many of you ditch cable and satellite for something a lot cheaper.

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