Anyone who listens to the radio or watches television in Switzerland must in principle pay a reception fee. This has to be paid regardless of the transmissions which are viewed or listened to and regardless of how these are received. The fees will be collected by Billag until the end of 2018. The new device-independent universal fee system will in principle enter into force at the beginning of 2019.
Households and businesses which possess radio or television equipment which can receive programmes must pay a fee, which is used to support the SSR-SRG and also licensed local radio and television stations. These broadcasters must provide certain services in order to ensure a top-quality public service in Switzerland. The SSR-SRG is legally obliged to provide a genuine service for society in the form of a public service: its programming must reach the entire population in all language regions and must at the same time make a contribution to education, the free formation of opinion, cultural development and entertainment.
On the other hand, new technologies can be promoted by means of the revenue from fees; audience research can be funded and the costs of the system can be covered.
Now that the electorate have accepted the revision of the Radio and Television Act, the introduction of a new fee system which is not dependent on the possession of a receiver is being prepared. This system, which will result in a distinct reduction in the annual charge for most people who have to pay it, should be introduced in early 2019.
However, this fee system is counter to the initiative "Yes to the abolition of radio and television fees" on which citizens will have to vote. This proposal demands that in future all media should be fully funded via the market and not subject to any fees. That would mean that the public service in the media as we know it today would disappear.