Canada's broadcast regulator says an obscure fee that cable companies charge to fund local television content is being scrapped, and the companies have until this fall to explain how they will remove the fee from customers' bills.
The CRTC announced Wednesday it plans to phase out the Local Programming Improvement Fund by the end of August 2014.
"The fund was created to ensure television stations had the resources to meet Canadians’ needs for local programming," chair of the CRTC's hearing panel Leonard Katz said Wednesday.
Starting in 2008, cable and satellite firms were ordered to pay into the $100 million fund to protect Canadian content during the economic slowdown. They, in turn, passed the charge on to customers, tens of thousands of whom complained about the new, nebulous charge.
The CRTC now says those companies have until Sept. 17, 2012 to outline what steps they will take to ensure that customers' bills decrease by a corresponding amount, as the fee is slowly phased out before being stopped entirely in 2014.