British Government Considers Tax on Computers
Posted 04 March 2005 - 11:23 PM
"THE BBC licence fee should be replaced by a tax on the ownership of a personal computer instead of a television, ministers said yesterday.
Tessa Jowell told the BBC that the licence fee would be retained for at least another ten years until 2017 in return for abolishing the Board of Governors. But the Culture Secretary conceded that technological advances would mean that a fee based on “television ownership could become redundant”.
More than six million households have access to high-speed broadband connections and the BBC has begun experimenting with broadcasting video clips over the internet.
A legal loophole highlighted by the communications regulator Ofcom means that viewers could watch television and listen to radio over the internet and mobile devices free, potentially costing the BBC millions of pounds in licence fees. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport’s Green Paper setting out the BBC’s long-term future proposed a solution that could end the traditional fee.The paper suggested “either a compulsory levy on all households or even on ownership of PCs as well as TVs”. It said that technology might render it difficult to collect and enforce the fee."
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