Italy Drafts New Rules For TV License Fee

New plan requires virtually everyone to pay, even if they do not own a television


WINTER PARK, Florida -- Italian Minister of Economic Development Paolo Romani on Nov. 25 announced a reform that would require any Italian resident who receives an electric bill to pay the TV license fee used to support state broadcaster RAI.

RAI, which is expected to finish as much as €120 million ($165 million) in the red this year, and up to €600 million ($835 million) in debt in 2012, depends heavily on income from the so-called canone fee. That fee requires Italians to pay €99 ($139) per year for the first television in a household and a lesser amount for subsequent televisions.

But the Romani plan would require virtually all residents to pay the fee, even if they do not own a television. Romani said that even residents who do not watch RAI programming benefit from RAI because it raises public consciousness and keeps residents informed.

The plan calls for the bill for the canone to arrive with the residence's electric bill.

If approved by parliament, the new rules would go into effect in 2011.