The Best Guide to Cable Packages and Alternatives

Shaw Cable Packages

Shaw Cable packages are provided by Shaw Communications, a company based and operated in western Canada.

The history of Shaw cable packages is an interesting one, and in many ways mirrors that of Rogers Cable in eastern Canada. Having built up a de facto monopoly over cable in western Canada, Shaw cable was criticised for a long time with using internet overcharging schemes and predatory pricing. However, in recent years, Shaw customers have seen an increase in service and in value.

The changes come from three things. First, there has been an increase in competition because of the rise of Telus Communications. This company competes directly with Shaw Cable in its traditional regions, and has caused Shaw to potentially lose customer support. Second, there has been a rise in satellite television usage. Satellite television provides programming at lower rates than cable, once the hardware costs have been met. Finally, Shaw and Rogers have recently abandoned their non-competition agreement, with Shaw striking into eastern Ontario, Rogers’ traditional territory.

As a result, Shaw Cable has launched price wars against its competition, leading to lower prices. It has also created better tech support services value, including improved tech support service. Together with a recent battle against the federal government about usage caps, Shaw Cable has again become a company that values the opinion of the people who use its cable packages.

Shaw Cable Bundles

Shaw cable packages are slighting different than those provided by most cable companies. While most companies provide tiers of service, in which each service scales along with the other services, Shaw Cable provides a basic package that you can add to according to your taste. They have a Standard cable package that offers each of the following options:

  • Television: 40 channels, including 12 high definition cable channels. Two cable boxes are included.
  • Internet: 50 MBs of high speed internet using a broadband connection.
  • Telephone: Free calling to other Shaw customers. Free call display.

The Shaw-to-Shaw feature is a holdover from the somewhat pushy attitude that got Shaw into so much trouble, but the rest of the package is quite reasonable. This starting package costs $99, and will serve all of your telecommunications need. The speed of the internet service is especially impressive for a basic bundle.

In addition, you can add services to this package, depending on your individual needs:

  • Television: You can add an array of television packages to your service, each costing $5 or $10 more per month.
  • Internet: You can lower or raise your internet speed, reducing your cost by up to $20 or increasing it up to $60.
  • Telephone: You can pay $20 for an 1000 minutes to an array of countries and unlimited calling to Canada and the United States. You can also cut the telephone entirely for a savings of $15.

Note that Shaw only offers television-internet and television-internet-phone bundles. You can’t purchase a television-telephone or internet-phone package with them.


Shaw Communications also offers a number of non-bundled services. At first, these look like good bargains, and you might even wonder why one would even buy a bundle, when the components seem to be so inexpensive separately.

The reason is that, unlike the bundles, purchasing individual elements involves an introductory price. For example, getting their “digital package” costs $39.95 upfront, but after six months, the amount jumps up to $69.95, an increase of 75%. Basically, Shaw is really trying to sell their bundles right now, and they will even recommend you purchase them right as you try to purchase individual elements.

One thing also to be aware of is that Shaw has oddly named its cable television packages. They have two packages (to which you can add more channels), the “High Definition TV” package and the “Digital Television” package. What is strange is that their “Digital Television” package includes some high definition channels. I’m unsure of the history of this misnomer, but it may be that they at some point decided to shift some HDTV channels into their digital package, but didn’t want to change the name to prevent branding issues.

In addition, Shaw Communications offers a basic cable package for $29.95 for the first six months and then $38.95 from then on. This is the basic cable service that Shaw is required to provide by law. Curiously, unlike most componies, they don’t hide this service, but advertise it and moreover, offer a deal for signing up. One can see the effects of competition here, as Shaw is trying to build a relationship with new customers, even when those new customers aren’t initially profitable.


Shaw Communications offers a range of attractive cable packages offering internet, television and telephone service. Their bundles are actually very reasonably priced, though you can see them trying to corner the market a bit with Shaw-to-Shaw savings and effectively making non-bundles unaffordable. Nonetheless, they are becoming a reasonable alternative, having chosen to provide better options and service now that they are facing tougher competition.

More information can be found on their official site.