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TV Licence

Volume 458: debated on Wednesday 14 March 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport whether a person who owns a black and white television set and a digital set-top box needs to purchase a colour television licence. (101365)

[holding answer 14 December 2006]: Interpretation of television licence fee regulations is a matter for the BBC as television licensing authority. The Corporation has confirmed its view that, under the current regulations, a colour TV licence is required to install or use a digital set top box to receive television programme services, even if it is used only with a black and white television set The Government accept the Corporation’s legal interpretation on this point.

The Government believe that the option of a black and white television licence should remain available through digital switchover. The licence fee regulations laid before Parliament on 8 March 2007 and due to come into effect on 1 April, will include provisions to ensure that a digital set top box used in conjunction with a television set or monitor that can display images in black and white only can be covered by a black and white TV licence.