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 KilkennyMusic.com (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?

From CitizensInformation.ie

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…

Author: Ken McGuire

Runs Event Media and The Devious Theatre Company and writes about food at Any Given Food. You'll find me on Twitter here and here.