No decision on broadcasting charge this year

Wednesday 07 March 2012 18.33
Pat Rabbitte could not say if any broadcasting charge would be lower than the licence fee
Pat Rabbitte could not say if any broadcasting charge would be lower than the licence fee

The Minister for Communications has said he does not envisage any decision being finalised this year on the introduction of a broadcasting charge to replace the television licence fee.

Responding to questions in the Dáil from Independent TD Catherine Murphy, Pat Rabbitte said the priority this year was the successful transition from analogue to digital television.

He would not be drawn on whether the charge would be less than the current television licence fee but indicated that if the efficacy of the collection system was improved he might be in a position to reduce it.

He also said he would look at anomalies in the current system, such as the fact that a large hotel can have one licence while separate holiday homes require one each.

Minister Rabbitte also told the Dáil that all post-primary Schools will have 100MB of broadband in schools by 2014.

He said 14 counties would receive priority this year and 200 schools in those counties will be connected by September.

The counties are Cavan, Clare, Donegal, Galway, Laois, Leitrim, Longford, Louth, Mayo, Monaghan, Offaly, Roscommon, Sligo and Westmeath.

He said the reason these counties were selected was because broadband is weakest there.

The Minister said he had a considerable battle in getting the funding to roll out high speed broadband to second level schools and he did not have the resources to do a similar job in primary schools.