Britain mulls taxing Ipod users

Sylvie Barak
The Inquirer
Sunday, Sept 29, 2008

BRITAIN’S BROADCASTING regulator and competition authority, Ofcom, says people could soon have to pay an "Ipod tax" to pay for crappy, yet expensive, programmes on ITV and Channel 4.

The tax wouldn’t just be restricted to Ipods and other MP3 players though. Anyone with a Sky satellite dish, an Internet connection and even a Freeview box will purportedly have to cough up to save shows like My Goldfish is Evil and London Tonight.

Desperately looking for even more ways to wring money out of already overtaxed Brits, Ed Richards, Ofcom’s CEO, reckons people should also be taxed for computers, blank CDs and DVDs. The Ofcom jury is still out on whether or not Brits should be taxed for breathing.

The ridiculous proposal is apparently just one of a plethora of "funding options" Ofcom is suggesting in its review for the future of public service broadcasting.

As ad revenue plummets while punters switch to digital TV instead, Ofcom says ITV, Channel 4 and Channel five would need between £145 million and £235 million of public British taxpayer funding if they are to continue spewing out their current level of junk.

But taxing people for Internet usage is a little bit contradictory to Gordon Brown’s current plan to help poor families buy broadband subscriptions.

Still, as Richards points out in a nightmarish scenario: "If we don't start making tough choices we are going to end up with the BBC being the only provider of public service programmes." Cash in the attic anyone?


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