Irish Govt to postpone €160 broadcast charge until after General Election

21 Apr 2015

The Irish Government is to postpone the successor to the TV licence – the €160 broadcast charge that covers all homes and devices capable of internet streaming – until after next year’s General Election.

The new broadcast charge is likely to be imposed on all households regardless of whether or not they own a TV.

The charge reflects that smart devices from phones and tablets to PCs and games consoles can stream radio and TV content.

According to a report in the Irish Independent newspaper, the Government will decide tomorrow (22 April) to postpone the charge.

Instead, the Government is going to focus on efforts to reduce the €30m being lost each year to TV licence dodgers.

It is to consider a report by consultants Indecon on public sector broadcasting and advertising, while a second report will focus on how RTÉ will deal with its financial problems.

Earlier this year, Communications Minister Alex White TD said that the new broadcast charge will not go ahead before full implementation of the local property tax and controversial water charges.

According to a recent ComReg quarterly report for the fourth quarter of 2014, fixed broadband subscriptions increased by 5.8pc annually to 1.26m subscribers. Household penetration for broadband now stands at 80pc of homes.

The same report indicated that there has been a significant 82.7pc surge in mobile data usage by mobile subscribers in Ireland up to the end of 2014.

Streaming image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years