Americans take broadcast television as a free essential. Even with the advances of cable and microwave technology, the only fee is for the transmission service so I can get 100 channels (or more) for a reasonable fee. I can even have this wired to all the TV’s in the house - one in the master bedroom, one in each of the kids’ room, the living room, and so on. In the rest of the world, a license fee is charged by the government just for each TV receiver - the cable or web linkage is extra!
This program is usually run by the Post Office. Every TV set has a separate license book which must be paid monthly. Although the stamps are Post Office products, they are not valid for postage. (Figure 1). Ireland, along with other countries, use small books (Figure 2) for each set which have spaces for special stamps that must be put in monthly. At the end of the year, the books are turned in to the Post Office for audit. To enforce the program, small vans with a special receivers check randomly. A knock on the door and a polite request to see the book for your set. It must be up-to-date to avoid a penalty.