A new laptop levy could replace the TV licence. It would see people charged a broadcasting fee regardless of whether or not they own a TV. A leaked draft report into the future of the licence fee suggests increasing it by €15 to €175 a year, and making payment mandatory for people watching content on laptops and tablets as well as TVs.
Fianna Fáil’s John McGuinness is against the move: “Why would you pay for a TV licence if you don’t have a TV in your house?”
But comedian and TV presenter Karl Spain says technology has moved on and the charge should address that:
“I’m sure there’s people out there that just have the wireless in the corner – but you should have to pay for services.”
Around €40M a year is lost by licence fee evasion, which stands at about 15%.
The report also suggests more financial support for commercial radio and local news outlets, which Fianna Fáil’s Shane Cassells says is key to stopping the spread of fake news:
“I don’t want to live in a world where I am looking at the Irish version of ‘Fox News‘ to get my information.”
They’re only draft committee proposals, and the Communications Minister Denis Naughten has previously axed plans for a broadcasting charge.