Written answers

Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources

Television Licence Fee Collection

Photo of Arthur SpringArthur Spring (Kerry North-West Limerick, Labour)
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436. To ask the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources his views on introducing a seasonal TV licence for a period of three to four months for owners of mobile and holiday homes in view of the fact that many will already have paid the full TV in their permanent residence; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19415/14]

Photo of Pat RabbittePat Rabbitte (Minister, Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources; Dublin South West, Labour)
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The current TV licensing system is underpinned by Part 9 of the Broadcasting Act 2009, which sets out inter aliathe requirement to have a television licence and the penalties for not having a valid licence. In accordance with Section 142 of the Act, any premises at which a television is located requires a TV Licence regardless of its use. Currently, only one class of licence and one level of licence fee exist and this covers any number of devices so long as they are all in the same property (residential or commercial). In 2011, my Department carried out an internal evaluation of the feasibility and cost benefits of introducing different categories of licence. On foot of this exercise, it was decided to deal with the issues arising in the context of a wider on-going review in relation to the introduction of a household based Public Service Broadcasting Charge. As the Deputy will be aware, the Programme for Government commits to examining the role and collection of the TV licence fee in light of existing and projected convergence of technologies and to transforming the TV licence into a household based Public Service Broadcasting Charge to be applied to all eligible households and applicable businesses, regardless of the device used to access content or services.

In line with these commitments, my Department is involved in the ongoing analysis and policy development work that is necessary in advance of the implementation of any changes that may be required. I am currently considering the results of a public consultation process on the introduction of the proposed Public Service Broadcasting (PSB) Charge. The consultation was based on the outcome of a Value for Money (VFM) Review on the charge, which was conducted by my Department last year. The VFM Review and public consultation will inform proposals which I will bring to Government in due course.

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