People without TV digital converters exempt from broadcasting license fee

Those entitled to exemptions and who had paid the fee over the past two years would receive a rebate.

September 1, 2013 22:59
2 minute read.
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Not long ago, everyone who owned a television set had to pay a license fee to the Israel Broadcasting Authority, whether or not they watched its Channel 1 station or, for that matter, any TV at all.

The Israeli press was replete with horror stories about measures taken against those who didn’t pay. These included threatening letters from lawyers, exorbitant fines and visits by representatives of the bailiff’s office, who seized portable assets that would not be returned until the debt was paid.

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In some cases, model citizens who paid the fee on time were hunted down by lawyers demanding payment – this time with interest – for a debt they no longer owed.

In certain situations, if payment was drawn out, assets that had been confiscated would disappear without any chance of their owners reclaiming them.

But now, according to a Ynet report, anyone with an old TV that is not attached to a digital converter will be exempt from paying the license fee provided there isn’t a modern set with a built-in converter on the premises.

As a result of a class action suit against the IBA in the Jerusalem District Court, the broadcasting network has undertaken to absolve anyone who owned an Idan Plus converter or who was a subscriber, via television or computer, to HOT cable or YES satellite services and therefore could not receive transmission for Channel 2, which is on a different frequency.

Moreover, those entitled to exemptions and who had paid the fee over the past two years would receive a rebate.

The new rule went into effect in July this year.

The reason for the change was that anyone who had previously used the analog transmission, which was received via antenna, was unable to receive broadcasts after the IBA had moved into total digital format. According to the logic, if a television receiver was virtually useless without the attachment of a converter, there was no point in charging a license fee.

An IBA spokesman confirmed this information. He told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday that relatively few people would benefit from the new regulation, as the overwhelming majority of TV owners have LED or plasma flat receivers with converters that are integral to the product, the bottom line being that most people will still have to pay the fee – even if they don’t watch Channel 1.

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