Rabbitte considers new broadcasting charge

Wednesday 18 January 2012 22.23
More people are watching television programmes on their computers
More people are watching television programmes on their computers

The Minister for Communications has confirmed that he is considering a new broadcasting charge to replace the television licence fee.

Pat Rabbitte told the Dáil that this would not be an additional charge and would not affect anyone who was already paying their licence fee.

He agreed with Fianna Fáil's Eamon Ó Cuív that the current funding model was not sustainable in the long run.

Mr Rabbitte said this was partly because of technological change, which meant fewer people were watching on traditional television sets, and partly because of evasion, which he said was costing RTÉ €25m a year, with around 15% not paying.

Minister Rabbitte said a working group in his Department had concluded that a household broadcasting charge "is a viable model".

He said that discussions had taken place with the Department of the Environment about accessing a database of households.

He said it was mainly younger people who were using other devices to access broadcasting.

Mr Rabbitte added that he and the Ceann Comhairle used televisions, and he suspected Mr Ó Cuív was the same, adding that he thought Mr Ó Cuív "has upscaled from black and white".