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New household broadcasting charge could replace TV licence fee – Minister Rabbitte

MINISTER for Communications Pat Rabbitte has told the Dail that he is considering a new household broadcasting charge to replace the TV licence fee.

He added that it would not be an additional charge and would not affect anyone who is already paying the TV licence fee.

However, he added that the current funding model is not sustainable into the future partly because many people are using computers and other devices to watch television and partly because of evasion.

Mr Rabbitte said that evasion is costing RTE €25m a year with around 15pc of consumer not paying the licence fee.

He added that it was mostly younger people who are using other devices to access broadcasting.

Discussions have already taken place with the Department of the Environment about accessing a database of houses.

“There are two issues: the phenomenon of technical convergence and evasion – despite the best efforts of An Post,” Mr Rabbitte told the Dail.

He added there is also a “digital divide” with young people watching television on devices other than TVs.