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PC users face TV licence

Big Brother could suffer

Computer users watching television through their PCs could soon be forced to buy a TV licence, according to Government secretary Sue Street.

Street, a secretary for the Department for Culture Media and Sport, told the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee yesterday in a discussion about TV licence evasion, that the government is discussing possible extensions to what constitutes a TV set.

Although the Secretary of State has not yet specified when a licence will be needed, the Communications Bill clearly includes provisions to accommodate future changes.

"The bill takes a flexible approach to allow changes to be made to accommodate future services," said a spokesman at the DCMS. "At this stage we do not know what they will be and cannot be certain they will include PCs."

But shows such as Channel 4's Big Brother, which runs 24-hour TV internet coverage, could be hit by the move if PC users refuse to pay the additional charges.

"We are simply in discussion stages and is impossible to speculate what impact this will have at the moment," added a tight-lipped DCMS spokesman.

Other licence changes will include the need to adjust analogue TV licences to digital licences and changes to the definitions of TV broadcasters and dealers to include satellite channels.


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