In future, Swiss people will have to pay for radio and television services regardless of whether they have either of those devices in their homes, parliament has decided. The decision hangs on the fact that media is available online.
In addition to private households, businesses bringing in more than CHF500,000 ($535,000) must also pay the radio and television fees, even if they have neither a radio nor a television on the premises.
Most of the CHF1.3 billion taken in through radio and television service fees every year goes to the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation, swissinfo.ch’s parent company. Private stations get a cut, too – up to 6%, as decided on Tuesday.
Since more households and businesses are expected to pay the connection fees under the revised law, parliament expects each household’s share will fall from the current CHF462 per year to around CHF400.
The new law must still be formally approved by parliament in a final vote, and the Swiss people may have the final say in a nationwide vote.
A pressure group that seeks to end radio and television fees altogether, as well as the influential Association of Small and Medium-sized Businesses, have in the past expressed their intention to gather signatures to force such a vote.
The association had expressed its dissatisfaction with forcing businesses to pay the fees, even if they do not have a radio or television.
swissinfo.ch and agencies