The Minister for Communications Pat Rabbitte has confirmed that he is considering a new household broadcasting charge to replace the television licence fee.
Mr Rabbitte told the Dáil that this would not be an additional charge, and would not affect anyone who was already paying their television licence.
He agreed with Fianna Fáil’s Eamon O Cuiv that the current funding model was not sustainable in the long run. This was partly because of technological change which meant fewer people were watching on traditional television sets, and partly because of evasion. He said evasion was costing RTÉ €25m a year, with around 15% of consumers not paying.
Minister Rabbitte said a working group in his department had concluded that a household broadcasting charge “is a viable model”, and that discussions had taken place with the Department of the Environment about accessing a database of households. It is expected that, if given the go ahead, the broadcasting charge would be collected along with the new household charge.
The proposed new charge would apply to people who view television on their computers and smart-phones.
Mr Rabbitte said it was mainly younger people who were using other devices to access broadcasting.