How much does a TV licence cost in other countries?

Around two-thirds of Europe uses licences fees, but where do people pay the most?

RTÉ director-general Dee Forbes said today that she believed a doubling of Ireland's television licence fee was justified, although she later clarified that the broadcaster was not officially seeking such a move.

Doubling the licence fee from €160 to €320 per annum, would make it one of the highest broadcasting charges in the world.

Around two-thirds of European countries use television licences to fund public service broadcasting, although the practice is much rarer in other parts of the world.

In some cases, licence revenue is supplemented by advertising, as in Ireland. In other countries, such as Cyprus, public broadcasting is funded directly from general taxation. In Spain, it is financed by a levy on private broadcasters and telecommunications companies.


Across the EU, the cost of a licence ranges from €53 in Poland to €335 in Austria. In The UK, where the licence is also required for users of the BBC's online iPlayer service, it is €170, while in France it is €136 and in Germany it is €215. Scandinavian countries tend to have higher fees, with Denmark charging €335.

In recent years, many countries have shifted from a television licence to an overarching content charge in reaction to the shift towards digital and away from traditional television. A similar proposal for Ireland was indefinitely deferred by the Government last year.

Finland abolished its television licence in 2013, replacing it with a ring-fenced progressive tax, ranging from €50 to €140, depending on income, which is applied to all adults, with very low-income earners exempted.

Italy, Greece, Romania and Portugal all apply the charges via household electricity bills.

Hugh Linehan

Hugh Linehan

Hugh Linehan is an Irish Times writer and Duty Editor. He also presents the weekly Inside Politics podcast