Sweden extends TV license fee to computers and phones

Mar 05, 2013
Sweden's TV licensing body said Monday all owners of computers and smartphones had to pay the country's mandatory fee for owning a television, as more people use digital devices to watch TV programmes.

Sweden's TV licensing body said Monday all owners of computers and smartphones had to pay the country's mandatory fee for owning a television, as more people use digital devices to watch TV programmes.

The agency last week began asking people able to access public broadcasting online to pay the license that funds public service broadcasting, Radiotjaenst chief executive Carl-Gustav Johansson said.

A significant number of conscientious had already begun paying the 2,076 kronor (248 euros or $322) annual cost for owning a TV set even though they only had a or a computer, after the issue was recently raised in the media, he added.

"It has resulted in what one might call spontaneous registrations," he said.

Last year, commercial broadcaster TV4 began streaming its channels live on the Internet as part of a subscription-based service. SVT followed suit this year, but without charging for its content.

In the first nine weeks of the year 12,600 new license payers registered with Radiotjaenst compared with just 2,200 in the same period a year ago.

Johansson said he believed half the growth came from people accessing TV programmes through digital devices.

The new policy met with scorn on micro-blogging site , but Johansson said most of the were based on a misunderstanding.

"They seem to think this is a new fee that's been added for just smartphones and computers, but that's not the case," he said.

Neighbouring Finland abolished its license fee this year and replaced it with a progressive tax, meaning people on low incomes pay less.

In 2006, Sweden's newly-appointed culture minister Cecilia Stegoe Chilo had to resign after just one week following revelations that she had failed to pay her TV for 16 years.

The Swedish licensing body collects around 7.3 billion kronor in fees each year and is owned by Swedish Television (SVT), Swedish Radio (Sveriges Radio) and Swedish educational broadcasting (Utbildningsradion, UR).

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User comments : 6

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Eikka
4 / 5 (8) Mar 05, 2013
It's completely ridiculous that you'd charge money for computers and phones simply on the notion that you may access the national broascaster's content through the public internet, because you put it up there for free.

If a private company did that, they'd be sued as a scam because that's essentially forcing people to buy stuff they didn't even ask for. Like putting milk bottles on someone's doorstep without asking them first, and then sending them the bill because they now have them.

If a government wants to have an everyone-pays propaganda channel, they can pay it from the budget. Separate TV lisence fees is just a way to obscure how much the government is actually spending and subsequently taxing the people by moving the taxation outside of the budget into separate fees and payments.
alfie_null
3 / 5 (2) Mar 05, 2013
I wonder if computer owners are excused if they are businesses or otherwise never use their computers for streaming media?
I wonder how good the programming is? I'm contrasting their $322 fee to the ~$1000 per year I pay for cable for the privilege of receiving advertising laden content and several channels like expensive ESPN (thank you, Disney), which I have no interest in, but no option but to accept.
RadiantThoughts
3 / 5 (4) Mar 05, 2013
We don't care about tv. Why don't you crappy moneygrabbers just leave us computer users alone. Just because more people are waking up and not using tv and radio does not mean its ok to just assume we are using our pcs as tvs. The more you try to turn the internet into a tv station the more people will find another way. We also don't want to have adverts forced on us constantly. Find another industry if you have any respect left.
Ophelia
3 / 5 (2) Mar 05, 2013
I guess the rest of you must have read a different article because nothing that I read said the fee was mandatory:
The agency last week began asking people able to access public broadcasting online to pay the license that funds public service broadcasting ...


That sentence to me says that if you use your computer to watch TV you are expected to pay the same fee that people who use their TV do. That seems fair to me; otherwise the computer viewers are getting a free ride.
frajo
3.7 / 5 (3) Mar 05, 2013
I guess the rest of you must have read a different article because nothing that I read said the fee was mandatory:
The agency last week began asking people able to access public broadcasting online to pay the license that funds public service broadcasting ...

That sentence to me says that if you use your computer to watch TV you are expected to pay the same fee that people who use their TV do. That seems fair to me; otherwise the computer viewers are getting a free ride.

You should read this sentence, too:
Sweden's TV licensing body said Monday all owners of computers and smartphones had to pay the country's mandatory fee for owning a television ...
Eikka
not rated yet Mar 07, 2013
That seems fair to me; otherwise the computer viewers are getting a free ride.


The TV lisences are charged based on whether it's possible for you to recieve the broadcast - not on whether you actually do so.

People who own computers and smartphones pay regardless because the public broadcasting agency decided to put their content available online. That's just criminal. Nobody asks you if you even want to watch it, you just have to pay for it.

Before, people at least had the option of not owning a television, but you can't not own a computer and a phone these days, so it's essentially just another forced tax that isn't called a tax, and it's large enough that some poor sod would actually need that amount of money to do something useful, like buy clothes or pay his insurace.

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