Does placing a device such as Alexa Echo Dot in my home entail the obligation to pay radio fees (Rundfunkgebühren/ GIS-Gebühren) in Austria? Since by court decision (mentioned in this article)it isn’t the case for my computer, which can equally well receive radio programmes, I strongly assume „no“ to be the answer. But I’d rather hear a more expert opinion.

The GIS Website includes the following part about devices without radio that nonetheless have to be paid for, whose meaning I don’t quite understand (the problem being not the language but the technical terms):

Geräte ohne Rundfunktechnologien - in Kombination mit einer Gerätekonstellation (etwa Kabel, SAT, dvb-T, etc.), die Rundfunk wahrnehmbar macht - sind ebenso melde- und gebührenpflichtig. Dies gilt auch für Geräte ohne Tuner und ohne Antennen-Anschluss (z.B.: KAGIS, NOGIS, Pop-Tech, etc.).

I fear Alexa might also count as „making radio perceptible“.

  • Can you ask it to play radio? – user253751 Mar 11 '20 at 16:35
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    @user253751 it can play the CONTENT of a radio station, but not over radio. But because of the aforementioned paragraph about „non radio devices making radio perceptible“ I am rather confused. – Ludi Mar 11 '20 at 16:37
  • I do not speak fluent German, but my understanding is that the tax applies if you have any device which is able to play radio or TV content. It does not matter whether it actually receives the radio or TV signal, which is why computers are included. – user253751 Mar 11 '20 at 16:58
  • I believe this is why they say "Dies gilt auch für Geräte ohne Tuner und ohne Antennen-Anschluss" – user253751 Mar 11 '20 at 16:58
  • The cable TV network also counts (as a "Gerätekonstellation") so I don't see why the Internet wouldn't count. – user253751 Mar 11 '20 at 16:59

I'm guessing that an Amazon Echo would be treated equally to a laptop or smart phone. Apparently Austrian courts decided in 2015 that it's NOT required to pay Rundfunkgebühr for this.

This is different from Germany where the supreme court decided in 2012 that you need to cough up cash for any internet connected device. See https://www.welt.de/wirtschaft/webwelt/article109585342/Karlsruhe-Internetfaehige-PC-sind-GEZ-pflichtig.html

Apparently it's still free in Austria. From the GIS website https://www.oesterreich.gv.at/themen/bauen_wohnen_und_umwelt/umzug/5/Seite.180303.html

Das bedeutet, dass Haushalte, die das ORF-Radioprogramm derzeit nur über Internet empfangen, künftig keine Rundfunkgebühren und die damit verbundenen Abgaben und Entgelte bezahlen müssen

Translation: "This means, that households that receive ORF radio programming only via Internet are not required to pay ... "

  • That is my interpretation as well. But what’s the difference between this and „Geräte ohne Rundfunk… in Kombination mit einer Technologie, die Rundfunk wahrnehmbar macht“?! – Ludi Mar 11 '20 at 22:40
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    I suspect that the GSI put this wording in to circumvent the court ruling, but didn't get away with it. – Hilmar Mar 12 '20 at 14:26

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