Sweden To Mobile Tech Users: Pay The TV Tax

Those who use smartphones and tablets are still expected to pay the tax -- which is mandatory for all TV owners -- if they're accessing content normally found on TV.

What's the Latest Development?

People who thought they could get away with not paying Sweden's mandatory TV tax because they replaced their TV with a mobile device received bad news last week: The government has decided to start collecting the monthly SEK173 (about US$27) fee from them as well. The Radiotjänst collection agency is doing this by checking its database and calling on those customers who haven't paid the fee. The move has created a backlash, with some residents calling it "completely absurd."

What's the Big Idea?

Currently there aren't many Swedes who are completely TV-free, but the decision to collect from computer and mobile device owners is seen as an attempt to get ahead of fast-changing technology and the ways it's being used to access content. Revenue generated from the tax is used to fund public broadcasting, which is facing market pressure from newcomers Netflix and HBO, each of which charge only SEK79 (about US$12) a month for their services. Despite the current backlash, Radiotjänst spokesman Johan Gernandt believes most Swedes will get used to it since "[n]ine out of 10 already pay a TV license [fee]."

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