You’re going to need a licence for your computer to help bail out RTE

If Communications Minister Denis Naughten gets his way you will need a licence if you own a computer.

The move is part of plans to widen the net for those who don’t pay.

According to today’s Irish Independent the TV licence fee will apply to PCs, laptops and larger tablets.

The €160 annual charge will be applied to electronic devices with screens that are bigger than 11 inches, meaning mobile phones and standard tablets would be exempt.

It is believed the move could raise up to €5 million annually for RTÉ.

How the law is going to be enforced is another matter. Will there be random checks by inspectors stopping anyone in the street carrying a laptop bag?

One in ten Irish households don’t have a standard TV set-up, with increasing numbers of people watching TV on the internet.

The current definition of a ‘television set’ is “any electronic apparatus capable of receiving and exhibiting television broadcasting services broadcast for general reception” according to the Broadcasting Act of 2009.

The Minister has already said he will not introduce the Fianna Fáil-backed ‘Broadcasting Charge’, which would impose a fee on every household in Ireland regardless of whether they had access to public service broadcasting.

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