The Minister for Communications is reported as having confirmed that internet and mobile television services (such as podcasting services, on demand services and commercial audiovisual content) will not require a television licence, and that this will be reflected in the Broadcasting Bill 2008 currently before the Irish Parliament.
The issue of whether people who use internet and mobile television services should be required to make some payment in the form of a television licence is currently quite topical. For instance, in the UK, the current BBC technology Chief, Erik Huggers, has called for the BBC’s video-streaming application (the iPlayer) to be subject to a television licence requirement. These calls were made in response to “free rider” concerns whereby users of the network provide no monetary compensation or remuneration for the benefit of accessing the network but contribute to its congestion. As a result, the BBC has blocked access to the service from international users and has indicated that it will extend the requirement of possessing a TV licence to cover the Internet should consumer’s habits change and video-on-demand become the new standard application.