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German state premiers have agreed on a monthly license fee for computers that can access television and radio programs via the Internet. The move has attracted criticism.
Watching television on computers may now cost some German households
German state premiers agreed on Thursday that any household or company that does not already have a license will have to pay the new levy of 5.52 euros ($6.92) monthly, which is the same as the one currently charged for radio access.
German households pay just over 17 euros ($21.31) a month to watch TV, but since more radio programs are available over the Internet than TV, state broadcaster ARD wanted the fee for computers and phones to match that of radios.
The plan has attracted sharp criticism from industry groups that argue it would harm German firms, especially small and medium-sized businesses.
Michael Ruiss of the German Federal Association for Young Entrepreneurs (BJU) said the decision to impose a license fee on computers and mobile phones reeked of a "certain political arrogance."
"Decisions such as imposing a license fee on computers undermine the confidence of businesses in politics. Instead of improving economic conditions, entrepreneurs are being further burdened."
Germany's TV license fee is among the highest in Europe, with only Switzerland and the Nordic countries paying more. It funds four national public broadcasters, several local broadcasters and all the country's public radio stations.