Japanese government plans wireless LAN fee

Gamers in Japan may be charged for playing with others on the PSP or DS if a new bill passes through parliament next year.

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TOKYO--According to Kyodo News, the Ministry of Public Management, which governs the telecommunications field in Japan, is planning a new bill that will charge consumers a radio signal fee for operating devices that use wireless LAN. Previously radio signal fees were charged only to major companies with wireless communication licenses, such as broadcasting stations or mobile phone operators. The ministry explains that the new bill aims to "make things fair," since wireless LAN products and mobile phones use radio waves in a similar manner.

The new radio signal bill specifically targets homes and offices that operate PCs over a wireless LAN. However, if passed by the Japanese parliament, the law will mean that multiplayer on Sony’s PSP and Nintendo’s DS will come with a cost, since both use wireless LAN for their connections.

The bill will not be proposed to parliament until next year, so consumers and electronic manufacturers in Japan will have plenty of time to organize oppostion to the Ministry of Public Management's proposal.

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