Friday, December 5, 2008

Licensed to Veg

With our new TV, we had to register with Billag.

Billag is not a cable provider, a network, or a manufacturer. They are simply the people you pay when you have a TV or radio in Switzerland.

See, in Switzerland, you have to have a license to have TV or radio. Even if you have no TV and your only functioning radio is in your car, you'll have to pay a monthly fee of 14.10 Swiss Francs to Billag.

Since we have TV, we'll have to pay about 32.35 a month. That's on top of cable.

I know plenty of people with TVs who've never paid anything to Billag. For them it's kind of like speeding on the highway. You might get caught. But you probably won't. (Billag sends random inspectors to homes to fine unlicensed TV and radio owners.)

Since we're expats with meager French skills, we've decided to play by the rules.

Still, I imagine a lot of the monthly payments go towards staffing for inspectors who go around checking to make sure people have made their monthly payments.

"We can't abolish Billag! How will we pay for people to make sure people are using Billag?"


Diane Kappa said...

WOW! There are lots of screwed up processes in Budapest...ALLOT! But paying for a TV and radio license!!! That I have never heard of!

Jeremy Arth said...

No Billag without Representashag!