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The TV licence fee…

April 4, 2012

…Has to be one of the most hated and most dodged mandatory payments in Finland.

Yes, In Finland (as in many other European countries I understand) you have to have a licence to have a TV in your home. The administration of television fees is maintained by Viestintävirasto (the Finnish Communications Regulatory Authority – FICORA). It costs EUR 252,25 a year, or about 70 cents a day and the fee is used to support the programming and operations of the Finnish Broadcasting Corporation (YLE). I took a screen shot of the HS International website last year when they had this ad up… I thought it was kinda funny – normal Finnish gruffness was replaced with a kind thank you…

I have heard legendary stories about licence inspectors coming to the doors of people’s houses and walking away with the unlicenced TV – or better yet – walking away with a dodgy old second hand TV. The offender having lived another TV day by pulling the good one back out from its hiding place and continuing as though nothing happened…

There are 61 TV licence inspectors in Finland and if they do come to your door, they will always identify themselves. FICORA has gone through a tremendous effort to make sure that the information regarding TV licence fees is spelt out in plain English, see their website here.

When I got my own apartment in Kirkkonummi many years ago it was sparsely furnished. In fact I didn’t have a TV for over a year – and I survived!  🙂 I did have a good laugh when one summer day I got a phone call from the TV licence authorities. This fella blathered on in Finnish (and back then I had no idea what people were saying) when I interjected and said I didn’t understand. The conversation went something like this:

Him: “Oh, well I am <name> from <can’t remember what he said> and I am calling to ask you if you have a TV.”
Me: “I don’t have a TV.”
Him: “Are you sure?” (Everyone laughs at this!! :D)
Me: “Uhh YES! I can’t afford a TV right now.” (And that was true.)
Him: “You know that when you do get a TV you have to pay a licence fee.” (He said this several times…)
Me: “Yes, I know that, but I am not planning to get a TV now.”
Him: “Okay, but just remember you have to pay the TV licence fee when you get one.”
Me: “Yes, I will…”

Okay, so a year or so later I got myself a TV just so I could watch the Sydney Olympics and I did inform FICORA about my TV. I did so out of fear of jeopardizing any chances of staying in Finland permanently. So years later, here we are and the Mr. is loving it because I take care of the TV licence fee in our house.

There is an initiative in the works to replace the TV licence fee with a flat media access fee that all Finns would have to pay regardless of whether they have a TV or not. It would range between EUR 50 and 140 and it actually garnered the support of almost two-thirds of Finns according to a YLE news report last fall.

But at the same time there are many people in Finland who refuse to pay the fee. So with the many thousands of people that purposely do not pay this fee every year, is it any wonder why some of the most beloved sports events in this country are moving to pay TV – like the upcoming World Hockey Championships? Bah humbug, I say!

I’m telling ya, the day that I have to pay to watch the Olympics on TV is the day I will probably abandon TV for good…

3 Comments leave one →
  1. SaL permalink
    June 30, 2012 10:53 pm

    I live in Texas and I’ll be dam if i have to pay a f***ing tax to own a Tv, and if they want to any property from my property they got something else cumming…

    • July 6, 2012 11:46 am

      Unfortunately SaL – that is life in Europe. The payoff is less in your face advertising in a manner of speaking.


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