NZ On Air says it is not planning to instigate any specific strategy to detect computer users with the ability to receive television signals on their PCs.
Instead, the television broadcasting fee collector intends to rely on its existing procedures to track viewers who have not paid a licence fee.
Selwyn Crane, NZ On Air's manager for revenue and marketing, says that TV tuner-equipped PCs are required to be covered by a licence just as a standard TV is. However, most will already be covered. "If you have a TV tuner in your PC at home and you also have a TV set for which a fee has been paid, you are already covered," Crane says.
"We know which houses are paying a broadcasting fee and those which don't at any one time. We are always enquiring at those houses which haven't got one whether they ought to be paying a fee or not by direct mail and other initiatives we take."
According to Crane, the potentially small number of TV tuner sales mean it is unlikely PC resellers will be required to inform NZ On Air who has purchased TV receiving equipment. "We wouldn't place any conditional compliance on retailers. Although it benefits us somewhat to be told that someone has bought the equipment, we still have to check to see if that person is paying a fee. Since about 90% of people are paying a fee, we would have to go over a lot of data to extract those who are not paying, so it's probably not very cost-effective anyway."