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Sky and UPC may have to hand over customer data in crackdown on licence fee dodgers

Communications minister Alex White wants to catch fee evaders.

Image: Youtube

THE GOVERNMENT IS planning to crackdown of TV licence fee evaders by giving An Post access to customer details from TV providers like Sky and UPC.

The decision to go down this route comes as the government decided against introducing the broadcast charge until at least after the next general election.

Communications Minister Alex White said this afternoon that bringing in the broadcast charge would not be possible “until we have built public understanding and support for such a move”.

The charge sought to impose a fee of €160 to incorporate all of RTÉ’s arms including television, radio and online.

But it’s being shelved for now with the government now planning to tackle licence fee evasion, something it says costs RTÉ about €25 million each year.

It’s estimated that about 15% of households with a television do not possess a current TV licence.

“This is also a matter of fairness,” according to the minister.

The vast majority of Irish citizens are making their contribution to the costs of quality public service broadcasting by paying their licence fee. But a significant minority continues to enjoy the benefits while expecting others to pay their share.

White says he is also bringing proposals to government which include changes to the rules about the number of minutes allotted for advertising.

A review of RTÉ’s assests including the Montrose campus will also be conducted.

The decisions comes as two new reports were published today by the Department of Communications.

The first was a review into efficiencies at RTÉ carried out by NewEra. The other was review of the broadcasting advertising market carried out by Indecon.

The reports are available to view online although both have much information that’s been redacted to “exclude commercially sensitive information”.

Read: Marian Finucane using “stopwatches” to ensure balance on marriage referendum debates >

Read: RTÉ head of news denies they are a “recruiting sergeant” for water protests >




About the author:

Rónán Duffy

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