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New Irish Internet Tax? 242

Posted by samzenpus
from the new-pot-of-gold dept.
MarkDennehy writes "The Broadcasting Bill 2009 (currently in the last stages of becoming the Broadcasting Act 2009 and then being commenced into law in Ireland) has thrown up a rather unpleasant little nugget for broadband users in Ireland. It now defines a television set as being an electronic apparatus able to receive TV signals or 'any software or assembly comprising such apparatus' which would mean that even if you haven't got a television set, even if you don't watch streaming content from RTE.ie (the state broadcaster's website), you'd still have to pay 160 euro a year for a television license for your iPhone, or netbook, or laptop or desktop if you have fixed or mobile broadband."
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New Irish Internet Tax?

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  • Ok I'll Bite... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Umuri (897961) on Wednesday May 06, 2009 @10:18PM (#27854759)

    So what you're saying is that since the state provides a service, if you could use that service you should pay for it?

    How is this different from, oh, say EVERY OTHER STATE SPONSORED SYSTEM IN EXISTENCE for broadcasting.

    Yes, you may not use it, but most people don't use all the roads either.

    I applaud them for making the technological leap to being able to provide it online and REALIZE that online is the same effective use.

    Now, i do have two questions.

    Is the cost to distribute online around the same as the TV cost? If so, sure go nuts with it.

    Is the license per household like a lot of other state TV licenses. If it's not, i see an issue with it.

    IF it's per household and it reflects the cost to run it, i say more power to them.

    We should be applauding efforts like this to adapt technologically and that are put forth by people who apparently have a grip on the actual issue.

    Not just getting mad because it's a tax. Taxes have purposes. I return to my earlier car analogy of driving on all roads.

    • Re:Ok I'll Bite... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by omar.sahal (687649) on Wednesday May 06, 2009 @10:29PM (#27854839) Homepage Journal
      • Is the cost to distribute online around the same as the TV cost?
      • Is the license per household like a lot of other state TV licenses. If it's not, i see an issue with it.

      fuck you, pay me
      The govenment

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        • Is the cost to distribute online around the
          same as the TV cost?
        • Is the license per household like a lot of other state TV licenses. If it's not, i see an issue with it.

        fuck you, pay me

        The govenment

        haha, clearly you haven't heard of something called the "Social Contract". You should check that out.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Perhaps you missed the "fuck you" part of his post.

        • haha, clearly you haven't heard of something called the "Social Contract". You should check that out.

          Haha, I don't remember signing any "social contract."

          Valid contracts are entered into voluntarily, and contain terms of offer, acceptance, and consideration. If sticking a gun in my face and demanding money because I own a computer is what you call the "social contract," then you and Tommy Hobbes can leave me out of it.

          • (Smoky Bar Table)
            "I'll see yer offer, acceptance, consideration, and raise you Capacity & Legality!"
            (/Smoky Bar Table)

            Normally those were the elements I ignored when advising bosses, but they're scarily relevant here.

    • Re:Ok I'll Bite... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Mr. Underbridge (666784) on Wednesday May 06, 2009 @10:36PM (#27854893)

      How is this different from, oh, say EVERY OTHER STATE SPONSORED SYSTEM IN EXISTENCE for broadcasting.

      It's one thing to say that if someone owns a TV, they're probably watching TV. Here, they're saying if you have a computer and broadband, you're watching TV. Bit more of a reach. Sort of like those jurisdictions that place uniform taxes on CD media with the presumption being you're using them for music piracy and not, say, linux ISOs or something.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by eonlabs (921625)

        Here's the kicker...

        In the US, there are still channels transmitted via radio waves.

        In Ireland, are there?

        Would a radio count if there were?

      • Re:Ok I'll Bite... (Score:5, Informative)

        by Malc (1751) on Wednesday May 06, 2009 @11:35PM (#27855331)

        Your TV would have to be a monitor with no ability to tune in to a signal before you could argue exemption for TV licenses, at least in the UK, and Ireland sounds like it has a similar system. Owning a TV and claiming it's not connected to an aerial/cable/satellite/etc is not sufficient. It has been this way for decades. So really, this is just the same: if you have an internet connection, you have the ability to tune in.

        160 euros is considerably less than what I used to pay for basic cable in Canada. Having 10 times as many channels gave me close to zero times more content to watch. Speaking again for the UK, the BBC doesn't have to pander to advertisers and makes the viewing audience their primary customer. This raises the standard of TV across the board, and it's no wonder commercial broadcasters like Sky hate it as they have to spend more than they otherwise would.

        • Re:Ok I'll Bite... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Mr. Underbridge (666784) on Wednesday May 06, 2009 @11:49PM (#27855401)

          Your TV would have to be a monitor with no ability to tune in to a signal before you could argue exemption for TV licenses, at least in the UK, and Ireland sounds like it has a similar system.

          That's reasonable since 99.99% of TVs are used as...TVs.

          So really, this is just the same: if you have an internet connection, you have the ability to tune in.

          Except for one massive difference: watching TV is NOT the primary use of broadband. Seems to me there's a 'presumptive use' argument missing that should be applied before taxing something. Especially for freaking TV. Really, we need a tax for *entertainment* that needs to be broadly applied not just to people using it, but to anyone using the internet? That's getting your priorities a bit out of order.

          Let's apply your argument to other arenas: if my town enacts a tax on erotica, should Target have to apply the tax if I want to buy candlesticks? See how it's kind of silly to apply a tax blindly because people *might* use it for entertainment? Find a better way to target the tax. Or make it a subscription service with a decoder card, easy and done.

          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by MrNaz (730548) *

            "Or make it a subscription service with a decoder card, easy and done."

            Not easy. For a national broadcaster to implement such a system, they would have to deploy a national distribution network for decoder boxes, decoder cards, an administrative infrastructure for issuing and revoking cards and all the associated systems and structures to make it work.

            • by jez9999 (618189)

              Not easy. For a national broadcaster to implement such a system, they would have to deploy a national distribution network for decoder boxes, decoder cards, an administrative infrastructure for issuing and revoking cards and all the associated systems and structures to make it work.

              We already have that in the UK. It's called 'top-up TV', and it means that even terrestrial digital channels can be blocked and charged for with a decoder card.

          • by AmiMoJo (196126)

            I don't know about the Irish system but the UK allows you to own a TV without a license if you just want to use it for watching DVDs or other non-broadcast-but-still-TV stuff. This creates a rather large grey area.

            Say I download a TV show from iTunes and watch it on my Apple TV. Do I need a license? If you can watch DVDs without one, presumably I don't.

            • by jonbryce (703250)

              No you don't. The only think you need a licence for is live TV streams, and I'm not sure the Apple TV is capable of displaying those.

          • by k.a.f. (168896)

            So really, this is just the same: if you have an internet connection, you have the ability to tune in.

            Except for one massive difference: watching TV is NOT the primary use of broadband.

            It isn't? Then what would you say is?

          • by Fred_A (10934)

            Except for one massive difference: watching TV is NOT the primary use of broadband.

            Maybe not the *primary* use, but here (FR), most ISPs will give you a set top box with their ADSL modem (or the modem itself doubles as a STB) which will decode mpeg data streamed from the ISP, hold a hard disk to record programs and for time shifting, plus assorted gadgets (they're typically little Linux machines). Some also integrate a decoder for terrestrial digital television (you'll have to add your antenna).
            You get roughly 100 "free" channels as a standard packaged deal when you open an ADSL2+ line (p

            • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

              by Jedi Alec (258881)

              Maybe not the *primary* use, but here (FR), most ISPs will give you a set top box with their ADSL modem (or the modem itself doubles as a STB) which will decode mpeg data streamed from the ISP, hold a hard disk to record programs and for time shifting, plus assorted gadgets (they're typically little Linux machines). Some also integrate a decoder for terrestrial digital television (you'll have to add your antenna).
              You get roughly 100 "free" channels as a standard packaged deal when you open an ADSL2+ line (p

            • by fuzzix (700457)

              So here, watching TV certainly is a common use of broadband.

              You're still watching it on a TV though, right? It's just standard TV over IP, not TV on your computer.

        • by PapayaSF (721268)

          the BBC doesn't have to pander to advertisers and makes the viewing audience their primary customer. This raises the standard of TV across the board, and it's no wonder commercial broadcasters like Sky hate it as they have to spend more than they otherwise would.

          Could it be that the commercial broadcasters resent having a competitor funded by a tax on every TV, while they have to do hard stuff like get good ratings and sell advertising?

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by Morlark (814687)

            I'm sure they do resent it. But if their tax-funded competitor is obliged to provide content that would not otherwise be shown at all (because it "doesn't get good ratings") and said content is high quality work that contributes to the cultural enrichment of the country, then I don't see why the commercial broadcasters' resentment is meaningful.

            • by jez9999 (618189)

              Go on then, name me some programming in the last few years that the BBC has done that a commercial broadcaster wouldn't have done. I dare ya. Or are you just a USian that has no real idea of the crap the BBC puts out nowadays, but just assumes it must be good becuase it's licence-funded? BTW, Dr. Who doesn't count. For one, I fucking hate it anyway. For two, it gets good ratings so a commercial broadcaster could've done it.

              • ok; Never Mind the Full Stops.

                And let's not forget News 24 (which commercial broadcasters have tried to compete with and failed) and BBC Parliament (which is made of win).

                I also doubt that anyone else could get away with making Have I got News For You - it takes the kind of clout that only the BBC has got to make that sort of thing.

                In any case your question is a nonsense, since it boils down to 'name a popular program which isn't popular'.

                • by jez9999 (618189)

                  ok; Never Mind the Full Stops.

                  I'd never heard of that one. Apparently aired in 2007, can't find any online video of it so I can't evaluate it. *shrug* Maybe it is unpopular enough that a commercial broadcaster wouldn't bother with it. Woohoo.

                  And let's not forget News 24 (which commercial broadcasters have tried to compete with and failed)

                  You've got a point there.

                  Apart from Sky News, CNN Europe, CNBC, EuroNews, CCTV, NDTV 24x7, Russia Today, France 24, Al Jazeera English, Press TV, ...

                  and BBC Parliament

                • by jonbryce (703250)

                  Sky News is a pretty effective competitor.

                  What about Bremner, Bird & Fortune on Channel 4?

              • by stokessd (89903)

                Easy here's a list from the past week:
                Wainwright walks
                Victorian Farm

                As an American I'd gladly pay that for the sort of TV you have in the BBC alone. I pay way more than that here and get crap in return for it.

                In fact I pay about that much for a UK proxy so I can watch BBC and iTV etc streamed to my computer here in the US.

                Sheldon

          • by drsquare (530038)

            The BBC was around for decades before the commercial broadcasters. They knew the market they were getting into, and they knew the advantage the BBC had, so they can't really complain about it.

            Hell, it was the BBC that created the market for the private competition in the first place so what do they have to be resentful for?

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Your TV would have to be a monitor with no ability to tune in to a signal before you could argue exemption for TV licenses, at least in the UK, and Ireland sounds like it has a similar system. Owning a TV and claiming it's not connected to an aerial/cable/satellite/etc is not sufficient. It has been this way for decades. So really, this is just the same: if you have an internet connection, you have the ability to tune in.

          Factually incorrect. In the UK all you have to do is write a letter stating you do not use your television to receive broadcasts and you are exempt.

          See here [metafaq.com]

        • by isorox (205688)

          Your TV would have to be a monitor with no ability to tune in to a signal before you could argue exemption for TV licenses, at least in the UK

          This myth is often repeated by people with various axes to grind, or those who believe them

          In the UK, you only need a license to install or used for the purpose of receiving a real time televisual broadcast. That includes live (or as-live, taking into account buffering etc) TV streamed over the internet (a slingbox for example). It doesn't mean you need to license a d

        • The problem with this is, here you pay even though you don't plan to watch TV. You have a tool that could be used for watching TV, if you stretch it a bit, but a good 80% or more of people owning a PC won't use it that way.

          That's like having an internet provider (and it being the only one, governments tend to have a monopoly in governing, at least in "their" area) that's also a cable TV provider and him telling you that you have to pay for cable even though you only want internet.

        • by jonbryce (703250)

          You have to pay for your basic cable subscription on top of the TV Licence.

      • I imagine this is some sort of Irish joke ... It clearly does not encompass distribution of video via the internet.

        A "TV" signal in the given context would amount to the free to air (IE: actually overpaid through advertising) signal deliberately transmitted via "channels" in the VHF or UHF spectrum. This used to be easily described as Video that negatively modulates a carrier to produce an AM signal at VHF or UHF, with a FM carrier offset from said carrier by several MHz. Unfortunately "digital" TV now re
    • Re:Ok I'll Bite... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by rolfwind (528248) on Wednesday May 06, 2009 @10:40PM (#27854939)

      Yes, you may not use it, but most people don't use all the roads either.

      Gas tax on gasoline to support roads is a generally fair excise tax, you pay what you use. Heavier vehicles do more damage to the roads but also get less mpg in general.

      Depending on the country, even if you never watch state subsidized channels, you still have to pay "TV tax". Also demanding a TV tax on a computer seems akin to demanding a newspaper tax on computers (since the newspaper industry is suffering).

      Either sell advertising to cover the cost and charge people who do watch it online through the website.

    • Here in Australia we used to have a TV/Radio license similar to what the UK have. The problem is that the licenses are beuracratically costly and difficult to enforce. We dumped the 1920's idea of licenses decades ago in favor of funding the ABC, SBS, Radio Australia, etc, via general revenue. The ABC/SBS have some great shows, the ABC make thier shows available [abc.net.au] on the net for a week after broadcasting.

      As with the BBC they are funded by the government as opposed to run by the government and IMHO it's wor
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by noidentity (188756)
      There's a difference; most people use the roads (perhaps indirectly), but lots of people don't watch TV of any kind but do surf the web. Why should they pay for what they consider a worthless service (television content) if they never watch it?
    • If I could use their service, sure why not pay for it.
      but the broadcast is analog and the audio is drowned out by the snow, my dab radio which i brought with me from england can't find a signal and while rte is on satellite its encrypted so i can't watch it.
      There might be digital terrestrial tv starting in the autumn.

      I'm using a 3g phone to connect this, tested with the bbc iplayer its not fast enough for tv.

      funnny thing is if I want to watch tv by satellite i can receive all the bbc channels ch4 more4 e4

    • As it is very easy to implement a system where you can only watch TV online if you have a license, they should allow people to opt-out much more easily than for a tv set.

    • We have a similar problem in Italy, and the problem is not Broadband, i.e. cable or ADSL access, but free-to-air signals.
      Imagine that i had No television in my house, BUT a computer with DVD RW, and a not-so-bleeding edge video card. Why should I pay the TV tax for? the junkies like me that watch TV as well want 16:9 1080i or 1080p lcd television, a dvd player to match, dolby surround sound... not a 19" screen and no remote control. The content coming from the public TV network via broadband in italy is fr
    • So what you're saying is that since the state provides a service, if you could use that service you should pay for it?

      How is this different from, oh, say EVERY OTHER STATE SPONSORED SYSTEM IN EXISTENCE for broadcasting.

      If it is different is not the question an completely irrelevant. So stop shaking that straw-man. He can't scare us.

      And if you think it is ok to let people pay because they *could* use it, then you should go to prison, because clearly you have the necessary tools, and thereby *could* rape a dozen women. Right?
      Also I will open a hot dog stand in front or your house, and bill you every time you pass it, because you *could* have bought a hot dog. :P

  • More of the same? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by The_Quinn (748261) on Wednesday May 06, 2009 @10:19PM (#27854769) Homepage
    People paying taxes for things they don't want, need, or use is nothing new.
    • by shaitand (626655) on Wednesday May 06, 2009 @11:22PM (#27855241) Journal

      Yup, it goes hand in hand with other people paying taxes for things don't want, need, or use that you do.

      If you wanted fair you shouldn't have joined a society. Society is about the weak banding together to take from the strong and prevent the strong from taking from them. Whether the strong are the physically strong, militarily strong, intellectually strong, or economically strong.

      • by drsquare (530038)

        What's unfair about not allowing the strong to prosper at the expense of every else? If you don't like society, fuck off to one of your 'gulches' or whatever you call them, and leave society to the adults who've grown out of the anarchist stage.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by russotto (537200)

        If you wanted fair you shouldn't have joined a society.

        I didn't. I was born into one. And because various societies control all useful land (and seas) on Earth, I have no choice but to be subject to one or another.

        Society is about the weak banding together to take from the strong and prevent the strong from taking from them. Whether the strong are the physically strong, militarily strong, intellectually strong, or economically strong.

        No, society is about some strong people banding together and making sure

    • by Dhalka226 (559740)

      West Wing quote:

      "I don't know where you get the idea that taxpayers shouldn't have to pay for anything of which they disapprove. Lots of them don't like tanks. Even more don't like Congress."

  • by Wild Wizard (309461) on Wednesday May 06, 2009 @10:23PM (#27854797) Journal
    The bill in Question [193.178.1.235] Page 12

    "broadcasting service" means a service which comprises a compilation of programme material of any description and which is transmitted, relayed or distributed by means of an electronic communications network, directly or indirectly for simultaneous or near- 20 simultaneous reception by the general public, whether that material is actually received or not, and where the programmes are provided in a pre-scheduled and linear order, but does not include:

    (a) a service provided for viewing in a non-linear manner where each viewer chooses a programme from a cata- 25 logue of programmes, or

    (b) other audio and audiovisual services provided by way of the Internet;

    • So how is the tax enforced then? You only need a license if you receive content from RTE? Or is it going to be on a subscription basis?

    • by Nekomusume (956306) on Wednesday May 06, 2009 @10:50PM (#27855005)

      In other words, hook up a TV tuner card to your PC, and it'll be taxed as a TV. Download your TV programs and it won't be.

      • by mikael (484)

        When you purchase anything that has a TV tuner circuit built in, your purchasing address get sent automatically to the TV licensing authority. If you don't already have a license registered at that address, you will be sent a rather threatening warning letter.

        The problem is now that you can buy a USB TV tuner dongle for around 18 pounds. The TV license itself is an annual fee of around 142.50 pounds. Many laptops and PC's now come with the TV tuner built in. Not only is there a database of registered TV's,

    • Under this, you are no longer, using their own definition, "stealing" when using p2p networks. You pay their licenses.

      I can't wait to see this come up in court cases initiated by the IFPI

      • Under this, you are no longer, using their own definition, "stealing" when using p2p networks. You pay their licenses.

        I think that's a bit of a reach; the definition says nothing at all about making anything that you can download (on an episode-by-episode basis) legal to access. Instead, I read the clauses as explicitly excluding "on demand" services and sites like YouTube. The tax will instead be applying to the general broadcast model, which is adaptable to the internet (the technology needed is multicast, which is getting better supported than it used to) but is still primarily OTA.

    • by feargal (99776)

      Or more relevance:

      transmitted, relayed or distributed ... for simultaneous ... reception by the general public, whether that material is actually received or not, and where the programmes are provided in a pre-scheduled and linear order.

      This is about passive viewing, i.e. viewing what's listed in the TV guide and pumped out by the broadcaster. On-demand viewing is not covered. So unless you have a TV card, the article is bull.

      Of course, if digital television evolved to being an unscheduled and wholly on-dem

  • wtf? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by bluefoxlucid (723572) on Wednesday May 06, 2009 @10:33PM (#27854871) Journal
    I don't even watch TV, I have a TV to use as a display device for my Wii and SNES. What cock sucker thought this tax up?!
  • Incorrect (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Terranex (1500465) on Wednesday May 06, 2009 @11:01PM (#27855097)
    "any software or assembly comprising such apparatus" most likely refers only to equipment and software designed to receive VHF and UHF transmissions on a computer.
  • Last I checked Desktops and Laptops can't receive tv signals without a tv tuner card of some sort. Most desktops don't have these cards. From the sound of things they would tie the tax to software pvr programs that would use the tuner.

  • What does that mean, you have to pour a shot of whiskey into your computer before you can connect?

  • by ivec (61549) on Thursday May 07, 2009 @12:11AM (#27855521) Homepage

    An internet-connected multimedia computer (pretty much anything nowadays) counts as a TV+radio set.
    Which means that even if you do not have any other apparatus (no TV...), you have to pay quarterly fee of CHF 115.50 - about 300 Euros per year.

    And yes, this is to sponsor contents and broadcasts from the Swiss television and radio stations.

    Allows us to have less advertisement time than in the USA, and to have some "quality programs" that are not always maket-/audience-driven.

    Not always a bad thing... like all taxes ... although one might disagree with how the money is used.

    • by jez9999 (618189)

      At least US television out of the comparison; it's notoriously bad, not necessarily just because it's comemrcial. Find some other countries without TV taxes and check out what THEY'RE like compared to you.

    • by robably (1044462)

      Allows us to have less advertisement time than in the USA

      I truly doubt that advertising would be cut if this tax was introduced.

      Also, paying for television with blanket taxes is wrong regardless of whether other countries already do it. If there was one television channel that provided essential news, information, and educational programming (for children and adults) then there would be a strong case for funding that channel and that channel only via a tax. In that case, even if you did not watch the cha

  • In Denmark, all owners of any device that is able to connect to the Internet with more than 256 kbps (and is able to display graphics) are supposed to pay an annual "media license fee" that amounts to EUR 300 (USD 400). :(
  • Already got that one (Score:2, Informative)

    by HBSorensen (213613)

    In Denmark : Multimedia taxation.

    If you own one or more of the following you are to pay up :

    1. 3G Phone
    2. PC with TV card
    3. TV
    4. Internet connection >= 256 kb/s

  • Pay about $29 a month. Rip Off, but that's the way it is.

  • Hi all. I live in Denmark, and we have a similar thing.

    Until "the Internet counted as a TV", the rules were:

    If you have a TV, you have to pay $n DKK per year. That included 98% of the people.

    After: If you have a TV or a 256 kilobit/s (or faster) internet connection, you have to pay $n DKK per year. This includes 99% of the people.

    The license-paid station (dr.dk, "Denmark's Radio") streams some microsoft video format over mms://.

    At 256 kb/s, it can't be particularly great quality; yet if they stream in greater quality, they essentially charging people who can't get a good viewing experience.

    But---they're being quite fair about it. A fellow student of mine who owns no TV but has an internet connection had to pay, until he phoned them up and said "I don't have the necessary codec to play your videos, and I won't install it" (He's on Linux). They exempted him from paying, and even paid him back what he had paid so far (because he paid under a false pretext).

    They are testing something which will reach Linux users as well (and presumably other OS users too). Then he'll have to pay.

    Note that DR sometimes shows infomercials on their channels, encouraging illegal viewers to pay license fees. That is: they spend money on it.

    If 99% of the people have to pay already, why not just charge everyone via the Plain Old Taxation system? The remaining 1% can go to a public library and view DR on the web, so they're getting something for their money too. That'll save the money spent on the "please pay up" campaigns.

    And then of course there's an argument to be had about the pros and cons of Public Service and Public Access, but let's leave that for later...

    • by foobsr (693224)
      If 99% of the people have to pay already, why not just charge everyone via the Plain Old Taxation system?

      Maybe because it is easier to change the rules (to get more money) this way.

      CC.
  • by Budenny (888916) on Thursday May 07, 2009 @04:08AM (#27856713)

    The underlying problem is, these state broadcasters are offering services which lots of people would not subscribe to if they had a choice. Lots of people do not think they are worth having at all, lots do not think they are value.

    In the UK, for instance, lots of people would rather do without the BBC than pay £130 a year for it. But they have no choice. Its a criminal offense to watch any TV at all without subscribing to the BBC.

    The difficult intellectual question is, what justifies this compulsion? It is not compulsory to subscribe to any other broadcaster. Why is the BBC not just another subscription TV company? Why do we insist people subscribe to it, whether they want to watch it or not?

    It is exactly not like Road Tax, where we pay an annual fee for the privilege of driving a car, which at least nominally goes to pay for the roads. Don't have a car, don't pay. We do not, with Road Tax, pay a fee to one particular car manufacturer every time we buy a car from the competition.

    The BBC is nominally independent, but in practice is simply the State TV company. The real reason why we insist everyone subscribes to it is that we want there to be a state broadcaster. We therefore want people to have an incentive to watch it, and making it compulsory to subscribe means that it has a competitive advantage. It is incrementally free. In economic terms it is cheaper than ad funded TV, because it does not have ads. We want this because we are afraid of what a genuinely free broadcasting media could be like.

    People argue all the time that this model is justified because they like what the BBC puts out. This is not the point. The fact that I like it, is not a reason why people who neither like nor want it should be forced to buy it. This is the real point of the argument about funding the state channels by compulsory fees on all TV ownership.

    There is no justification.

    • by zoney_ie (740061)

      There is a difference - the BBC has added vast amounts to British culture that would not have been added by purely private operations. RTÉ does not have such a legacy despite being of a similar vintage.

      On the other hand, people in Ireland mostly get all the benefits of the BBC for free - that is surely consolation for having to part-fund RTÉ (unlike the BBC, RTÉ *also* rely significantly on commercial advertising and such - TV viewing is as interrupted as most commercial TV stations).

      Of cours

      • Given the abysmal quality of RTE and the advert breaks I had assumed it was a commercial station until we got a demand for â160 drop through our letter box. At the current exchange rate we are paying more here for a couple of channels of shite that nobody watches, than we paid for the Beeb back in the UK with all of its output.

        And I still have to jump onto a UK proxy to watch Doctor Who...

  • The likelihood of someone having broadband but no TV in their household seems so small that I really don't see many people being caught by this unless they were dodging the TV licence fee in the first place.
  • I live in Ireland and don't have a TV, so if they're gonna do that they best make all their RTE channels stream like it's TV. Right now all I have is the RTE News stream that repeats every 10 minutes, not exactly worth my 160 euros. It's only fair that they're give us all we're supposed to get for the price.

  • by dworz (50185)

    Here in Switzerland they try to "tax" internet PCs too.

    In the olden days the justification for this tax was, that you cannot control the reception of a broadcast unless you monitor every home. The same is not true for internet services. It's not broadcast, it's 1:1 connections and you can easly identify your subscribers. There's no reason (besides greed) to charge non users like me. I've consciously choosen not to have tv or radio. I won't pay just because i have a internet connection.

  • Broadcasting Bill 2009 [boards.ie]

    "television set" means any electronic apparatus capable of receiving and exhibiting television broadcasting services broadcast for general reception (whether or not its use for that purpose is dependent on the use of anything else in conjunction with it) and any software or assembly comprising such apparatus and other apparatus;

    142.--(3) This section does not apply to a television set, which is of a class or description for the time being declared by an order of the Minister to be a cl

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