The Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Pat Rabbitte has published a consultation paper on the introduction of a Public Service Broadcasting Charge (PSBC) to replace the television licence.
The proposal 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 said that 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 six weeks from August 26 to October 8 and is available at: http://www.dcenr.gov.ie/Broadcasting