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Coalition Government Won't Freeze BBC TV Licence Fee

Conservatives, it seems, will not coerce the BBC into publishing the salaries of its highest paid employees or get them to freeze the TV Licence fee which currently stands at £145.50 per year.

Ed Vaizey, the new announced minister for media and arts (and incidentally Broadband), told the Sunday Times that the BBC will be "will be treated firmly but fairly by the coalition government."

He also confirmed that there will be no plans to prevent the TV Licensing body (opens in new tab) from raising the licensing fee by £3 in 2011 and another £3 in 2012 which would bring the monthly cost of the levy to £12.63.

He added that when they tried to get a parliamentary vote last year to freeze the fee, inflation was next to nothing but things have now changed with the inflation index reaching 3.7 percent this month.

Earlier this week, the government spelt out plans to use some of the BBC TV licence fees to fund the expansion of high speed broadband in the UK. So in effect, the rise in TV Licence fee would help finance the roll out of broadband to communities who have been left out.

The BBC has also come under fire for launching schemes like Project Canvas which, according to rivals like Sky or Virgin Media, distort the competitive landscape since the BBC is in effect using public money to drive out private firms.

Désiré Athow

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.