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Goverment may axe TV licence...and replace it with a new household charge

Even if you don’t have a TV, you may soon have to start contributing to RTE’s output.

THE GOVERNMENT may introduce a household charge to replace the TV licence – aimed at forcing those who don’t have a TV set but watch television on their computers or mobile devices to pay.

The Minister for Communications Pat Rabbitte said in the Dáil yesterday that “young people are not necessarily at all accessing television through their television set” and that the department is attempting to “measure the extent of evasion”.

RTE reports that there is a review currently underway in his department on the current system, and that he had “an open mind” on the question of introducing a new household charge.

The Irish Times adds that such a charge may also fund independent broadcasting entities.

Meanwhile, the Independent Broadcasters of Ireland have called for RTE Radio 1 to become an entirely publicly funded station without advertising revenue.

In Britain, the BBC says that people who watch catch-up programmes on the iPlayer do not need a licence. People who watch live TV on their computer or mobile device do need a licence – however, the TV Licensing authority has not quite worked out how to police this requirement.

Have your say in our poll: Should people who don’t own a TV have to fund RTE?

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About the author:

Jennifer O'Connell

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