TV License To Cover Internet In Ireland

The Oireachteas Committe on Broadcasting has been meeting today and at an early stage feedback looks like the TV license is about to evolve in Ireland to encompass the internet, mobile streaming and media and “websites like YouTube” (according to RTE).

Television is now much more than a ‘box in the corner’, and the concept of a TV licence fee may have to be changed to include developments like mobile phone streaming and websites like YouTube, an Oireachtas committee has been told.

Not only that, but Ronan Coy (technology expert ) has been quoted as bringing internet-based tv stations and video blogging into the equation as well. Now we’ve to pay to watch clips on video blogs? Where does that leave the likes of BalconyTV? Or down the line the online video development behind (which I picked up some grant funding for during the week – my thanks to Kilkenny Borough Council on that note). License fees for PC monitors, the use of a video capture card?


If your household, business or institution possesses a television or equipment capable of receiving a television signal, you are required by law to have a television licence. Even if the television or other equipment is broken and currently unable to receive a signal, it is regarded as capable of being repaired so it can receive a signal and you must hold a licence for it.

Last time I heard, TV3 was a license-free station meaning that we’re paying the 158 quid TV license for the divine joy of rubbish acting in Fair City and a handful of other programs. There’s nothing at present, in my mind, to seriously justify paying an ever increasing license fee without a match in services to match.

I thought the same about the phone and figure that seen as I’m a bill-paying customer of O2 along with the rest of my family, the house phone has become pretty redundant so Eircom can kiss goodbye to their line rental (we still pay line rental to Eircom albeit we’re customers of Chorus – hurry up and unbundle the lot!). As for making landline calls I’m pushing to bring in a VOIP option to the house with a closed wireless network covering all the rooms.

As it is, the TV in the sitting room is used for DVDs, the TV in my own room used for DVDs and some gaming – everything else comes online. Stream the odd video, download the odd video. If there’s TV on, the liklihood is that TV3 is on to catch a bit of Emmerdale while cooking the dinner during the week – if you’re in the office from 8:30am to 6pm at a minimum (as we all are) then we get the joy of missing the rubbish pumped out in the afternoon. Remember ‘The Afternoon Show’? Good Jesus….

Does anyone think that RTE should be made optional? Or that you could pay your TV license based on the number of TV channels you receive? We’ve got a big property in Sligo but the TV reception is actually non existant where we are. Are there exceptions to the matter if you can pick up TV3 but you physically can’t pick up RTE / Network 2 without forking out for a dish or a huge roof aerial? (Update: actually, refer to the above quote from Oasis, if its possible to get a signal by some means I guess you’ve got to do it) Next thing you know we’ll have to pay a license fee on mobile phones (already in Germany), radio license for the car and beyond. As for having a TV license to cover EVERY TV set, is that rule still in place?

Whatever the outcome of the Oireachtas talks I’m hoping that they seriously don’t consider bringing the internet into the TV license. Spells bad news for us gadget fans…


  1. Ray January 10, 2007 at 7:04 pm

    this country is going to the pits…

  2. Ken McGuire January 10, 2007 at 7:18 pm

    You can sing that. If its 158 for a TV set – how much extra do you think its going to be to cover the internet? Its a wonder they haven’t already clamped down on the ‘equipment capable of receiving a signal’ (such as computers with a pctv card)…. madness

  3. Stephen January 10, 2007 at 11:40 pm

    This is a load of cock – the TV licence is there to fund public service broadcasting – why should RTE get their grubby mitts on cash for stuff they have absolutely nothing to do with – they don’t produce the amusing video stuff on YouTube and elsewhere. They’re not even a real PSB since they receive ad-revenue as well as all your licence money. I ranted excessively about this on my own blog earlier today, it really pisses me the hell off.

  4. Ray January 10, 2007 at 11:44 pm

    Well they could argue a copyright issue with companies like youtube, regarding clips of shows being viewable online, but it seems obsurd that they think they change the TV license scheme. They must be losing money or something!

  5. Paul Browne - TIPE January 11, 2007 at 9:00 am

    It’s going to be interesting how this could be enforced. Are we going to see something like the ‘great firewall of China’ , but instead of censorship as the aim, trying to check to see if you’ve paid your licence or not?

  6. Rosanne January 11, 2007 at 9:27 am

    Hi there Ken… well another thing that has always bugged me about it is that in the UK the ‘state-funded’ channels aka BBC 1 & 2 which their TV licences pay for come AD-FREE! But here we are like suckers paying TV licences which supposedly fund RTE 1 & 2 while they are making a fortune from advertising at the same time! There are so many ads on nowadays there is no way that they need the money that comes from TV licences… so where does that money go?!?!

  7. Ken McGuire January 11, 2007 at 9:43 am

    Definitely. It would be nice to see some transparency or get public access to figures raised from the TV license fee year on year, coupled with revenue raised from advertising sold on RTE 1 & 2 all weighted up against the cost of the homegrown TV that all of this is supposed to be paying for…. Will have to tune into these talks this morning…

  8. Lar January 12, 2007 at 11:21 am

    The TV licence currently applies to a household, so if you have a mobile, laptop, Blackberry, they would fall under your existing licence, provided you have one, of course (according to CSO figures, 99% of households have a TV)

    I think the committee is right to at least discuss these issues before they legislate.

    However, I don’t think every kind of device (present and future) will fall under the legal description of what constitutes a TV when the Bill is proposed.

    I’ve blogged on the same issue in Irish Government to redefine the television?

  9. Ken McGuire January 12, 2007 at 12:15 pm

    Thanks for that Lar. Caught your post this morning via a trackback. The license would be understandable if it remains to cover a given household or non-divided premesis but I remain curious to see what happens now that the two days of discussion are completed and if adjustments are made (in an upward direction) in order to incorporate mobile devices at some level.

    Given the remainder of the discussions, suggestions that the BCI and Comreg should possibly merge, the reshaping of RTE as a company, RTE as a public service broadcaster that isn’t actually sticking to a PSB model and everything else that was covered in the last two days there’s certainly bound to be interesting changes made.

  10. Stephen January 15, 2007 at 6:28 pm

    It turns out RTE took Ronan Coy’s comments completely out of context, and I (ahem) should not have called him a wanker for that on my blog.

  11. Sean March 17, 2007 at 4:48 am

    Disband the RTE

  12. European June 7, 2007 at 1:43 pm

    All that tv license rubbish wouldn’t stand up in an European tribunal. You pay your taxes on your tv set when you buy it, you pay your normal taxes from your salary and so on… Why paying an “extra” tax for a service you may or may not use? TV licenses were removed from continental Europe a long time ago, as they were considered unfair and acting against free competition (if a public tv station isn’t viable, well, close it down! or try to improve it so people will watch it!).
    One of these days someone will have the time and money to take the Irish Gov. to Brussels ‘for the laugh’ and then you’ll see what happens 😉

  13. Peter Sligo October 10, 2007 at 11:00 am

    My house mates and I have been trying to avoid paying a t.v license for all the reasons you guys have stated above. We even went down the road of taking out the R.V port at the back because we honestly don’t watch the Ad-Riddled crap that RTE pump out and thought that would solve our license issue. It seems they have thought of everything though according to article above, ref citizens advice quote.
    Quite simply; WE WANT ACTION! what can we do about this? Does anyone know is there a higher body that govern’s TV in ireland? Or have they well and truly got us by the short and curlys? If so I am going to drive to dublin and leave my tv outside who’s ever house it is that governs this corrupt BS. I’ll hide away and watch online t.v and dvds. B the way check out

  14. russ November 15, 2007 at 7:55 pm

    Just wonderin if anyone knows the answer to this one – if you are one of the 1% of households who don’t actually have a telly, do you still have to get a tv license for having a cd player that has a built in radio in it?

  15. Seán November 15, 2007 at 10:14 pm

    Yep. Even if you smash out the radio bit with a hammer. I have to say after 3 years of no radio and no TV and using adblock in my browser, those ads are a mind killer.

  16. russ November 16, 2007 at 6:27 pm

    okaaaay. thanks. off to the post office to pay the dosh though it kills me to do so. i like my almost obsolete cd player too much to do that to it anyway. call me old fashioned.

    and adblock? what’s that?

    (ok call me very old fashioned)

  17. mcmann January 30, 2008 at 11:06 am

    It seems that many nations throughout the world have abolished this tax due to increasing collection costs and less public service programs from the stations.
    Theres only one way to get rid of this bs tax…don’t pay it. Unfortunately the majority of people in this world seem to sit back and let govts do what they please. Even more unfortunate is the fact that this Irish govt is so willing to waste money they would never scrap the tax because of high collection costs. Bit of a catch 22.
    The next step…computer tax. We will have to get off our arses then won’t we..

  18. john marques May 15, 2008 at 8:45 pm

    RTE has never supported us the unmarried and seperated fathers of ireland.
    what is happening in ireland at present is that there is a regieme of dictataship like zim’s. they are opressors destroying freedoms that are govened by international laws. why should tv licence be any different. it is time for the people in ireland to stand together “down with this sort of thing”

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  20. Latvian fellow July 14, 2008 at 11:06 pm

    Few years ago Latvian government tried to bring TV licenses, but people went against so it was buried.

  21. media-mufti November 11, 2008 at 10:36 am

    the germans are usually law abiding and compliant to the point of genocide, so they pay for a stereo in the car or a small clockradio in the bathroom.

    the media moguls are unable to reign in the ever more diverse independent media , so the corrupt and incompetent politicians that we elect (or are allowed to seize power by those that do not vote) are the tools that are used to squeeze funds out of those that fail to resist them.

    mass disobedience works: but few sofa heroes are prepared to chance a two week stretch in mountjoy and force a collapse of the system by refusing to cooperate with the thieves and parasites.

    it’s easily forgotten, but we don’t need the fg/labour/pd//ff/green mafia and their criminality. media is the underpinning of a democratic society. we’re about to toss it away.

  22. Laurence November 21, 2008 at 1:44 pm

    What do you think should happen?

    1> TV license should be under a €100 .

    2> Disband the RTE, No TV license fee.

    3>TV license should be under a €50, but RTE will only show ADs .
    ( who watches RTE in anyway)

    4> Leave it the way it is , RTE is brill !

  23. Dermot Healy January 3, 2009 at 1:40 pm

    I don’t agree with the TV license fee but I think RTE should do one or the other,Drop all advertising,or operate like the BBC, ie.,commercial free,not both.

  24. Ray February 1, 2009 at 6:30 pm

    RTE should be funded by advertising only.

    If I admired RTE I wouldn’t mind paying the licence fee, but the station’s output is mostly insulting crap. It makes me feel very angry to be forced to pay for the upkeep of a station I detest.
    [Compare Jon Snow’s excellent daily 7pm news bulletin on CH4 with RTE’s daily plodding effort at 6pm].

    RTE doesn’t deliver true psb [broadcasting by the people, for the people]. Instead the licence fee is used as a deadening government control of the broadcaster. RTE’s output is mostly right-wing conservative, and it’s editorial control almost certainly is designed, consciously, and unconsciously, to comply with government requirements rather than the needs of the people.

    The licence fee gives a potentially regressive government censorship control over rte which is not compatible with true psb. It’ll be interesting to see how much of an effort RTE will make to allow people throughout the country to give vent to their anger and concerns about the gross mismanagent of the country’s ecomomy…

    The corrupt disgraceful bumbling idiots that we have governing this country should have no control over a pbs but I believe that the government will never relinquish the leverage that the licence fee provides them.

    Sarkozy is looking to remove advertising from French public tv completely – a retrograde step towards complete state control :

  25. ProGrasTiNation March 3, 2009 at 7:23 am

    F**K a TV licence
    I pay for my tv now from a provider(Sky,etc.)just like many people.
    The bottom line is you…
    Dont need a tv licence
    Car insurance & NCT are optinal
    If you want to take drugs by all means do…is that cop your father or something
    The Government do not rule this country….WE DO
    (How can you vote for something…if theres nothing to vote for?)

  26. nicole May 10, 2010 at 8:53 pm

    What’s happen if I will do not pay TV licence?

  27. MB November 18, 2010 at 11:56 pm

    To somebody who lives in the States, this is mind-boggling. Even in liberal California they don’t have anything this draconian… that I know of. How in the world do they enforce this? Inspectors go door-to-door and you have no choice but to let them in?? And in Germany – you seriously need a license to have a mobile phone? Sheesh. I’m glad I live in America, but I shouldn’t be too happy about it… it’s only a matter of time for us, since we’ve been steadily losing our freedoms here.

  28. jay December 20, 2010 at 7:19 am

    i just got fined in court for not having a licence for a tv that i dont own or watch. how they got my name i dont know, even in court when i protested with a letter from d owner claiming full responsibility, all the jusge said was u lived there, ur responsibility. so roll on 3 months and i’ll get arrested and sent to jail for an hour !

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