COMMUNICATIONS MINISTER Pat Rabbitte has announced the start of the consultation period for the new Broadcasting Charge, which will replace the TV licence fee from January 2015.
The new Public Service Broadcasting Charge will apply to every household in the country and will not exceed the amount of €160 currently charged for the TV licence.
The consultation document has been published online, and anyone wishing to have their say has six weeks to do so: the closing date has been set as Tuesday 8 October.
According to the Minister:
Given the scale of TV Licence evasion and the swiftly changing way we experience audio-visual content, it is important to ensure the continued health of public service broadcasting by placing it on a sound financial footing.
Replacing the current licencing system with the PSB Charge will ensure an efficient and sustainable funding model for this public service into the future.
It is estimated that the introduction of the charge will dramatically reduce the evasion rate, which is currently at between 17 and 20 per cent.
According to the consultation document, the removal of the need to prove the existence of a TV or other device “should lend itself to easier enforcement with the potential for less evasion”.
Minister Rabbitte is also planning to bring forward legislation that will revise the amount of advertising public and commercial broadcasters are allowed to include, which could lead to a cap on permitted minutes-per-hour for RTÉ.