Government launches crackdown on TV licence fee evasion

An Post is to be given access to cable and satellite TV subscription data in order to pursue licence evaders

Legislation will allow tv licence collector An Post access subscription information to cable and satellite providers including Sky and UPC in order to clamp down on evasion. Photograph: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

Legislation will allow tv licence collector An Post access subscription information to cable and satellite providers including Sky and UPC in order to clamp down on evasion. Photograph: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

 

An Post is to be given access to cable and satellite TV subscription data as part of a crackdown on tv licence fee evasion.The information will be used by An Post to identify TV licence fee evaders.

This morning the Government gave approval for legislation to enable An Post to access the subscription data held by TV service providers, including Sky and UPC. An Post will then be able to cross-check all those households and businesses with cable or satellite TV services against their own database of licence fee payers.

Up until now, there has been no legal obligation on cable or satellite TV service suppliers to inform An Post of the names and addresses of persons availing of their services.

“Licence fee evasion is an ongoing scourge. While in the nature of things it is difficult to be exact, we estimate that it is running at over 15 per cent, which is more than three times the rate in our nearest neighbour. This means that around € 25 to € 30 million of potential revenue is lost annually to RTÉ, ” Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte said.

Mr Rabbitte said that “a short piece of legislation” is all that is needed, and he hopes that the Bill can be passed and in force “by the end of this year”.

In 2013 RTE received some €182.4 million in licence fee revenue, up from €180.9 milion in 2012. The licence costs €160.