Broadcast Charge Update

The idea of substituting the TV Licence fee in Ireland with a  “broadcasting charge” for every household was first suggested back in 2012. There was more talk about further investigations in 2013.

Currently, we have the Television Licence Fee –  (€160 a year ) which is payable by any household with a television.  This fee hasn’t changed since 2008. The money from this goes mainly towards RTE and Tg4. This current funding method is probably not fit for purpose in today’s society where television sets are no longer the only method of media content viewing. It is estimated that about 25% of homes are now not paying the TV licence.

In December (2017)  the “Joint Committee on the Future Funding of Public Service Broadcasting” produced a report with some recommendations on the way forward with a Public Broadcasting Charge.
These were the main recommendations:

  • Responsibility for the TV licence fee collection to be handed over to the Revenue Commissioners.
  • Charging to be expanded to include every household in the State (not just those with a TV set).
  • Concessions to Old Age pensioners and others to be maintained.
  • Public Service Broadcasters to be permitted to charge retransmission fees to satellite, cable and Internet service providers.

In July 2018, the Government established a cross-departmental Working Group on the Future Funding of Public Service Broadcasting to examine options for the collection of the TV licence fee or its replacement,  The Group reported to the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment in April 2019.

The Recommendations of the report were:

1. That the TV licence is put out to public tender on a fixed-term contract of 5 years in order to make it feasible for the successful tender to invest in database and collection improvements;

2. That at the end of the contract period, the licence fee should be replaced by a device-independent charge.

August 2019 – it was announced that new legislation will finally go through the Dail to bring about the changes to the TV licence fee in line with these recommendations.  It is expected to be in place by the end of 2019 – with the “device-independent broadcasting charge” to follow in five years.
The current provision of free TV licences to those in receipt of the Household Benefits Package will continue.

The option of purchasing TV licences at post offices will remain regardless of who the successful awardee of the contract is.

Some people are referring to this proposed charge as being similar to another “Household Charge” – which was the €200 a year forerunner to the Property Tax.

2 thoughts on “Broadcast Charge Update

  1. “Concessions to Old Age pensioners and others to be maintained” but there’s zero detail about what new levels are proposed under the new scheme under consideration? It could be interpreted that it won’t continue to be Free for OAPs. Currently Old Age Pensioners who qualify for the Household Benefits Package from the Dept.of Social Protection receive a Free Television Licence although; other aspects contained in the Household Benefits Package were either abolished altogether in some cases or faced large cuts in areas such as Telephone Allowance, Fuel Allowance, Electricity Allowance etc; following the economic slowdown. Hopefully the Broadcast Charge Update does not introduce partial charges on accessing Broadcast Media for our most vulnerable citizens. If this occurs, one could see partial charges for OAPs using Public Transport down the line!

  2. And what if you do not view broadcast television content from Ireland? A lot of people don’t and only buy or download DVDs/films etc. There is no provision for this situation in the bill and I expect that people will get hounded for the charge when they do not need to pay it.

    The whole TV licence or charge collection concept is completely outdated and needs to be completely scrapped, and replaced with a subscription for RTE. RTE should be encrypted like Sky TV and only accessible with a subscription and box. I wonder why that is not in the report – it’s the fairest way forward for all concerned!

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