Ahern reconsiders commercial licence funding for DTT



Irish Communications Minister Dermot Ahern has shelved hastily drawn-up plans to introduce a commercial television licence for hotels, pubs, and other places where television sets are viewed by the general public, originally priced at over €1,000 per annum, with variations for size of venue and the number of sets in use.

The Minister had been keen to introduce an all-Ireland DTT service that would have been funded by this new commercial licence, but Ahern's Department of the Marine, Communications, and Natural Resources is now likely to scrutinise similar European models with a view to publishing revised recommendations later this year.

While some official sources say that the licence postponement is due to the downturn in Irish tourism, others speculate that the Minister wants to observe the impact of the BBC's forthcoming 'free-sat' service, receivable in Ireland, before pressing ahead with DTT.