Published on 

Minister Rabbitte launches consultation on Public Service Broadcasting Charge

Communications Minister initiates a public consultation on the reform of the television licencing system

The Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Pat Rabbitte, T.D. today published a consultation paper on the introduction of a Public Service Broadcasting Charge (PSBC) to replace the Television Licence.

The proposal detailed in the Consultation Document is based on the Programme for Government commitment to examine 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 PSBC to be applied to all eligible households and applicable businesses, regardless of the device used to access content or services.

Announcing the Consultation, which will inform proposals to Government on the introduction of the charge, the Minister said:

“Public Service Broadcasting performs a critical role in our society. I consider most people place a value on public service broadcasting in terms of the character of our society and the nature of public discourse. The character of society and the quality of our democracy benefits from genuine public service content. These services provide a common reference point for our culture, language, history and heritage.”

Reflecting on the current challenges to PSB funding, the Minister noted: “Given the scale of TV Licence evasion and the swiftly changing way we experience audio-visual content, it is important to ensure the continued health of public service broadcasting by placing it on a sound financial footing. Replacing the current licencing system with the PSB Charge will ensure an efficient and sustainable funding model for this public service into the future.”

As part of the on-going extensive analysis and policy development work that is necessary in advance of the implementation of any changes associated with the Charge a Value for Money (VFM) Policy Review was completed by the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources. The findings of this review, in conjunction with the broader analysis undertaken within the Department, have given rise to a number of key issues relating to the introduction of the Charge and these form the basis for the consultation document.

The consultation will run for sixweeks from 26th August to 8th October and is available at:



The Programme for Government commits to “examin[ing] the role, and collection of, the TV licence fee in light of existing and projected convergence of broadcasting technologies, transform the TV licence into a household-based Public Broadcasting Charge applied to all households and applicable businesses, regardless of the device they use to access content and review new ways of TV licence collection, including the possibility of paying in instalments through another utility bill (electricity or telecom), collection by local authorities, Revenue or new contract with An Post.”

Work carried out by the Department led to the development of a proposal for a device independent Public Service Broadcasting (PSB) charge. This proposal was considered in great detail by a Value For Money Policy (VFM) Review Group and informed the Group’s deliberations and subsequent recommendations – which are summarised in the consultation document. The Review Group’s report is also being published today on the Department’s website).

The Minister now invites answers, comments and/or observations from all interested parties, including individuals, organisations, companies, and broadcasters, on any or all of the questions contained in the attached consultation document. The consultation document includes the key findings and recommendations of the report of the VFM Review on the introduction of a Public Service Broadcasting (PSB) Charge.

The introduction of the PSB Charge should not only reduce the rate of evasion which is estimated between 17% to 20% but also rectify anomalies in the current system for example some businesses, although meeting the legal requirement of buying a licence, are contributing, pro rata, much less to the funding of the public service broadcasting than individuals or families..

The Minister considers that the current exemption should be maintained for those in receipt of the Household Benefits Package where practicable.

The consultation period will run for six weeks and following the Minister’s consideration of the submissions the Minister will bring proposals to Government on the legislation required to give effect to the Charge.