• Sweden's news in English
 

Swedish ISP hits back over TV licence fees

The Local · 25 Jan 2013, 17:01

Published: 25 Jan 2013 17:01 GMT+01:00

"If you have a computer, why should you have to pay TV fees?" Jon Karlung, CEO of Bahnhof, the largest independent ISP company in Sweden, asked The Local.

"A computer's primary function is not to play television. People should have a choice if they as an individual want a particular service."

Karlung's indignation comes following a move announced earlier this week by Sveriges Television (SVT) to offer its full broadcast schedule online via digitally streaming service SVT Play.

But the shift to allow the broadcaster's complete line-up to be viewed online means that Swedes who own computers and tablet devices will have to start paying television licence fees.

SEE ALSO: Stockholm iPad 'magic' a surprise YouTube hit

Currently, anyone with a television receiver is required by law to pay the 2,076 kronor ($320) annual fee, which is collected and enforced by Radiotjänst, a division of Swedish public service broadcasting.

Radiotjänst collects some 7 billion kronor ($1.09 billion) per annum which is used to part-finance Sveriges Television, Sveriges Radio and Utbildningsradio (UR).

Traditionally, the fee has only been charged to television owners, and Karlung thinks it's unfair that Bahnhof's customers might be forced to pay the fee.

"People are pissed off because they feel they shouldn't be charged for something they don't want," Karlung said.

As a result, Bahnhof launched what it calls the "TV Stopper" to block SVT's digitally streamed content from people's computers.

"We filter out the traffic, then provide an official certificate specifying that the client has had no access whatsoever to SVT," Karlung explained.

SEE ALSO: Spotify launches new app for Apple's iPad

He believes many of Bahnhof's computer-owning customers will appreciate being able to avoid the annual fee, including foreign students who may not be interested in SVT and often don't have the budget to pay the licence fee.

While he admits he can't give a 100 percent guarantee that the certificate will suffice for users looking to avoid the charges, Karlung is confident it will work.

"We've tested the product in the launch and it works," he told The Local.

"Now it's just a matter of getting people's voices heard."

Oliver Gee

Follow Oliver on Twitter here

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

18:06 January 25, 2013 by observeronly
I can not even understand the reason for tv license fee?? Normal TV price is 3000-5000 SEK and we have to pay license fee worth 2076 per year. And as well as SVT channels are concern, why someone has to pay tv license fee if he/she does not even watch svt?
18:29 January 25, 2013 by oddsock
Kudos to Bahnhof.
18:39 January 25, 2013 by johan rebel
'cause the majority of Swedes meekly follow silly rules and stupid regulations
18:49 January 25, 2013 by rramirez
This fee may have made sense many years ago when there were few channels and anybody with a TV pretty much had to watch these channels and therefore could have been expected to fund them. Today, TV is entirely different. There are many channels or networks that generate their own money via the viewers that they gain. Evidently, SVT cannot survive by this model so they use political means to force people to pay them whether or not they are viewers. There should be a ComHem package without SVT channels that would exempt you from paying the tax. I bet it would be an extremely popular option.

In this case, SVT's CEO Eva Hamilton has completely overstretched and tried to manipulate an unfair law in an effort to squeeze money out of people who probably are not consuming her product. Instead of producing better product, they are scheming. If Jan Karlung would like to have the law voided in terms of his product I understand that. Better yet, he could try to use his platform to begin a greater conversation of the validity of this TV fee in general. I do not know his business, but he could cause SVT to cave on his issue very quickly and get a lot of free publicity at the same time. The last thing Eve Hamilton and SVT want is their business model challenged in the light of today's competitive television market.
19:37 January 25, 2013 by truthcode
the last thing I would do is look air channels on my computer ;)
19:44 January 25, 2013 by Rishonim
Bravo Bahnhof for your initiative. I have never watched SVT and I find no reason to watch it in the future. If I need to see tv I watch filmon.dot.com on my tablet
20:37 January 25, 2013 by Programmeny
Good. I don't watch SVT, I don't have a TV and I don't want a TV. I read my news online and when I want a movie, there's Netflix.

I'm not about to pay for something that I don't use. I'm not paying.
22:25 January 25, 2013 by Just_Kidding
I would be glad to be able to buy a SVT signal stopper for my TV or a TV that is unable to receive SVT and avoids paying the ridiculous 2000+/year, let alone that I get poor signal in these basic channels. I don't want to contribute to the projects of SVT or SR, I didn't need their huge team of reporters in London Olympics and as a Middle Eastern, I don't feel flattered whey I hear their "Lilla Fadji"

I use my TV for watching videos and I am considering replacing it with a projector or a smaller LCD player.

I rather pay for products of "Discovery Channel" or "Jon Stewart Show", rather than boring blabbing of Stockholm snots.
22:55 January 25, 2013 by Reason and Realism
I have often defended the rights of governments and businesses who go after The Pirate Bay and similar theft engines, so in general I support the rights of the creators and distributors of content to be compensated for their work, but the automatic SVT tax on iPads is obscene.

One could make the argument that if people bought a TV, then they are probably going to watch some of the local TV stations for news at least, but this does NOT apply to an iPad.

As others have posted, one should have the option to sign in to the SVT streaming service, where permission is only granted to registered payers of the tax, or to persons willing to pay a temporary user fee.

Time for a T (vee) party. No taxation without utilization.
11:05 January 26, 2013 by just a question
You are totally selfish.

SVT needs your money to organize the stupid Eurovision contest to choose the candidate every year. And how are these Swedish hosts and presenters going to survive without your money? Do you want them to find a normal job with a normal salary? Please!
12:28 January 26, 2013 by darrenj
I say pay up.

You cannot have your cake and eat it! Stingy people

This is the price you pay for living a higly mobile disposable society. If you can afford these such and such then pay for the lifestyle choice.

Besides the taxes do something good, helps development of culture and adfree programming.

It may not be perfect but show me where is?
14:01 January 26, 2013 by riose
@darrenj

This is not a tax. This is a fee. Fees are not progressive. Fees are supposed to be paid when you use a service.

But a mandatory fee, to everybody, is basically a hidden and unfair tax.

I whish somebody have resources to take this to Brussels.
17:57 January 26, 2013 by Mb 65
License is a licence to receive all Tv channels including Svt
20:57 January 26, 2013 by ArneBK
@Mb 65. Its a license to own a tv. They dont care if you cant receive any channels. As long as you have a tv you have to pay.
07:20 January 27, 2013 by Marc the Texan
TV license fees. Just one of the quaint relics that Swedes still enjoy in the 21st century.
13:55 January 27, 2013 by Rishonim
@Marc the Texan. Another quaint relics on the 21st century is the monopoly of when and where you can buy booze. The funny thing is that people are happy lining up like cattle on the eve of any major holiday to buy their beverages.
14:25 January 27, 2013 by jbaggins
The argument should be about whether public service broadcast is necessary/worthwhile. That doesn't mean whether you personally would like to watch/listen to it.

The decision by the Swedish government and almost every other government in Europe is yes it is necessary/worthwhile. (No good running to Brussels)

The next question is how it should be funded.

1. A fee ( levied on all those with equipment able to receive it and charged per household).

2. A mandatory media tax on every individual over 18.

The tax seems the fairest way to me, although it would leave many households paying considerably more.

3. ?

I believe that it is valuable to have media channels that are independent of political and business influence.
16:44 January 27, 2013 by Phillynilly
I fortunately watcj UK TV via satellite. Watching paint dry is more exciting than watching metrosexual reality shows on SVT or pointless endless suicidal chat shows.....I would rather spend all day at Ikea......
22:35 January 27, 2013 by korat
I cannot understand why the Swedish went for this solution. Have always seen the

Swedish politicians have been a head before their Norwegian colleages, but not

in this case. Now there is some consideration going on to to follow Sweden in this

respect.

Personally I never watch TV, only downloading Thai TV for my wife via my PC.

I will never pay even a Norwegian krone to the Norwegian state TV, NRK.

The coming system to pay according to your income feels to me also undemocratic.

Why not code the transmitters as the private TV channels, so people may pay for

the one we want to watch? That is always turned down in the discussion.
02:07 January 28, 2013 by Marc the Texan
@Rishonim - That's the other quaint relic I had foremost in mind.

The real question about the TV license comes down to one question. Are Swedes getting value commensurate with what they are paying?
11:52 January 28, 2013 by ragdoll
No they are no getting value. They are getting screwed. Over 2000 kr per year? More than my homeowners insurance. That is a huge percent of disposable income and for what? For a few TV channels that people do not seem give a damn about? While all the dozens of other channels are self-funding?!

What do you do in this country? You can't "write to your congressman." Do you just grab your ankles and ask someone to pass the vaseline? Where is SVT headquartered so me and my posse can go make a stink?
21:13 January 28, 2013 by Peter1234
Totally wrong!

SVT has unmasked its real intentions: If it would be their interest to get paid from those people, who want to watch SVT, then there are many examples in the web, where you need to create an account, pay a fee and then are able to log in if you want to see movies, tv, etc. It could be so easy: Everybody who wants to see SVT needs to create an account, pay the licence fee and then can watch as long and as often as he wants within the paid period.

But: The true intention of SVT is simply greed - collecting as much money as possible from everyone in Sweden, independently, if somebody ever will watch SVT or not.
00:09 July 9, 2013 by local-aam
I had a better perception about Swedish laws. After facing this SVT law, I now know, Swedes (i mean Govt./Corporations) are as greedy as the other nations. No difference at all. They just need to opportunity to do so.

They could easily get the true TV watchers through.

- Tracing users/watchers IP addresses from the streaming websites

- Introducing login system for watching programs

These things are a lot more easier than calling people every now and then. These greedy SVT people called me 3 times in last 2 weeks. I am so annoyed with them.

And few Swedes are taking the side of SVT. I guess they are also part of SVT just sneaking here as a normal user; otherwise, I would also lose all respect for the average Swedes too.
22:50 September 4, 2013 by Mike77
darrenj said:

This is the price you pay for living a higly mobile disposable society. If you can afford these such and such then pay for the lifestyle choice.

It's not anymore. It's retarded and rotten like rest of the EU and it's not better than other countries *anymore*. I see that you are running out of money? Crisis hits you? $ from 2nd WW ran out? Oh that's sad. So now, to keep your socialistic rules (that is: rob mr. smith in order to give to mr. brown) you have to instoduce fees? pathetic

That IS robbery, I don't watch the TV and I still have to pay for THE TV.
Today's headlines
'Sexist' underwear posters spark heated row
The posters on the Stockholm subway. Photo: The Local

'Sexist' underwear posters spark heated row

21 minutes ago

Calvin Klein's latest underwear campaign has got Swedes in a sweat, with some turning to the country's advertising watchdog to complain that the posters are sexist and should not be shown on Stockholm's subway.

Refugee crisis
How to help refugees if you live in Sweden
Asylum seekers in Halmstad, Sweden earlier this year. Photo: Anders Andersson/TT

How to help refugees if you live in Sweden

3 hours ago

As images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a Turkish beach spark debate around the world, The Local looks at some of the ways you can help refugees if you live in Sweden, which is continuing to take in more asylum seekers than any other EU nation.

Refugee crisis
Donations up as asylum levels reach record
Refugees examining donated clothes. Photo: Marcus Ericsson/TT

Donations up as asylum levels reach record

10 hours ago

UPDATED: More than ten thousand people applied for asylum in Sweden in August – the highest figure in a decade. Meanwhile, volunteer organizations are reporting being flooded with donations for refugees as heartbreaking pictures emerge from the growing crisis.

Sweden keeps record negative interest rate
Riksbank head Stefan Ingves. Photo: Bertil Ericson/TT

Sweden keeps record negative interest rate

8 hours ago

UPDATED: Sweden's central bank (the Riksbank) is keeping its key interest rate, the repo, at a record low of -0.35 percent.

Video
Swedish teen bags summer's hottest song
Swedish teenager Zara Larsson performing at Bråvalla festival this summer. Photo: Pontus Lundahl/TT

Swedish teen bags summer's hottest song

1 hour ago

What was your summer anthem? Swedish teenager Zara Larsson's track 'Lush Life' was the most played on Spotify across Sweden, the streaming site has revealed.

What's on in Sweden
Five fun events to make you laugh in Sweden
The circus is coming to town. Photo: Mats Bäcker/Underart/Cirkus Cirkör

Five fun events to make you laugh in Sweden

11 hours ago

Swedes are a surprisingly fun, as well as funny, bunch. Here are five events we hope will put a smile on your face this week as well as our regular interactive calendar of all the top events around Sweden.

Shock as Avicii pulls plug on 2015 gigs
Avicii at a gig in Stockholm in June 2015. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

Shock as Avicii pulls plug on 2015 gigs

5 hours ago

Fans were raging on Thursday after DJ superstar Avicii's announced a decision to cancel all gigs for the rest of 2015. The Swedish artist cited a hectic summer and his need to "grow up".

More and more Swedish priests untie the knot
An increasing number of Swedish priests are getting divorced. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

More and more Swedish priests untie the knot

9 hours ago

The total number of divorced Swedes is dropping as more couples appear to choose to stick together. But one surprising group is bucking the trend: priests.

Tax changes could cut costs for Swedish firms
Sweden is home to many of the world's successful startups, such as Spotify. Photo: Lars Pehrson/TT

Tax changes could cut costs for Swedish firms

1 day ago

UPDATED: Swedish Enterprise and Innovation Minister Mikael Damberg has told The Local about his action plan to turn Stockholm into the top startup city in the world. But critics of his proposals say they are too vague.

Euro 2016
‘I get a kick out of doing things that hurt you’
Zlatan Ibrahimovic at the press conference on Wednesday. Photo: Pontus Lindahl/TT

‘I get a kick out of doing things that hurt you’

1 day ago

Sweden's star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic has caused a stir after mouthing off in a press conference when a Swedish journalist asked about his business interests, ahead of his national side's Euro 2016 qualifier with Russia.

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS

National
Who is Sweden's secret anti-immigration blogger?
Gallery
People-watching: September 2nd
National
VIDEO: Swedish longboarder builds dreams with viral film
National
Hairy Swedish knickers on display
Sponsored Article
'It gives you the guts to believe in yourself'
Blog updates

28 August

Editor’s blog, August 28th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hello readers, It was all glitz and glamour in Sweden this week as Stockholm Fashion Week got..." READ »

 

18 August

Preteritum eller presens perfekt? (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hello everyone, It’s grammar time ! I got an interesting question about the past tense vs present..." READ »

 
 
 
National
Swedish billionaire blasted for 'lonely' Twitter rant
Sponsored Article
Nine places where Stockholm needs more English
Gallery
Property of the week: Stuverum, Västervik
National
Swedish ship rescues 5,295 refugees
National
TIMELINE: Everything you need to know about the Julian Assange case
National
'Sweden Democrats will run the country'
Gallery
People-watching: August 28th-30th
National
Swedish bin men hailed as heroes after rescuing doomed kitten
National
This Swedish teen was told she was 'too big' to be a model
Gallery
People-watching: August 26th
National
Rescued baby lemur gets new Stockholm home
National
Stockholm Fashion Week turns island into Mars
Gallery
Property of the week: Stora Essingen, Stockholm
National
Swedish crayfish thieves caught red handed by officers
National
Veil soon to be lifted on new Millennium sequel novel
Gallery
People-watching: August 21st - 22nd
Cecilia Larsson Lantz/imagebank.sweden.se
Presented by Stockholm Academic Forum
International students welcomed to Stockholm
National
The Bridge: What does the third season have in store?
National
Lucky escape for Swedes after 'dead' bear launches attack
National
Syrian asylum seeker comic: 'We don't prefer Sweden any more'
Lifestyle
Baby joy for Swedish crime queen and her wrestler boyfriend
National
Soldier accused of faking first Isis attack in Sweden
National
Fire alert as Sweden sizzles in summer heatwave
Gallery
People-watching: August 19th
National
Meet the Swede who is crazy for Norway’s mass killer
National
Swede's review of night in drunk tank goes viral
National
VIDEO: Swedish teen melts hearts with this incredible Idol audition
Society
What's a Swedish crayfish party?
National
UN: Sweden can't be left to shoulder migrant crisis alone
Gallery
Property of the week: Skogås, Huddinge
National
Men outstrip women for first time
Society
IN PICTURES: Wooden town resembles 'war zone' after huge fire
Gallery
People-watching: August 14th-16th
Sport
Swedish referee shuts viral Facebook page explaining his decisions
Business & Money
A studio in Stockholm or a castle in the countryside?
National
How did twelve skeletons end up beneath a Swedish castle?
Gallery
People-watching: August 12th
National
Millennium sequel author labelled 'grave robber'
National
Two metre long python stops traffic in Malmö
National
IN PICTURES: Shoppers pay tribute to Ikea stabbing victims
Sponsored Article
Getting pregnant the Swedish way
Sponsored Article
Outsourcing drives Apreel's Europe growth
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

3,229
jobs available
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
psdmedia.se