A top BBC executive has suggested that heavy duty users of the broadcaster's web services may have to pay more than just a licence fee.
Ashley Highfield, who runs the public service broadcaster's web and interactive TV operations, warned that the fees may be introduced to meet the cost of streaming TV broadcasts over the web once broadband has been established. The costs are estimated by Highfield to be "several billions" of pounds.
He told the Financial Times that one idea being considered was that the licence fee would give users credit to view a fixed amount of BBC online content, with top-up fees charged once that limit was exceeded.
However, the idea could not be adopted until the next-but-one renewal of the BBC's charter, which isn't until 2011.
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