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Ministry to broaden spectrum user fees

The telecommunications ministry might slap users of home information appliances and high-bandwidth wireless local area networks with spectrum user fees, ministry sources said Monday.

The Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications Ministry plans to submit Radio Law revisions to introduce the new charges during next year’s ordinary Diet session, the sources said.

Users of home information appliances and wireless LANs are currently exempt from paying spectrum user fees.

But the ministry plans to hit the users with these fees because such appliances use almost the same spectrum as mobile phones, whose users are required to pay the fees, they said.

The move might provoke stiff opposition from product manufacturers as it is likely to affect their sales.

The ministry plans to collect fees from users of information appliances when they purchase these products, according to the sources.

Manufacturers of home appliances are currently stepping up efforts to develop information appliances that are linked via wireless networks and can be controlled from anywhere.

Spectrum user fees have been charged in connection with licensed broadcasting and radio stations, as well as with cellular phone companies.

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