Question For My UK Readers

Yesterday, I mentioned in passing that the Television License Fee that has been used to fund the BBC for it’s entire existence has been threatened by Boris Johnson.

I am curious about a couple of things I couldn’t find a straight answer to them. Is it correct that the Fee applies to watching shows on any screen; be it laptop, phone what have you?

And two how are they enforcing that?

If UK Zoomers are anything like the ones in the US then most of them aren’t bothering with big screen TVs.

I’m just curious.

3 thoughts on “Question For My UK Readers

  1. This is what they say:

    The law says you need to be covered by a TV Licence to:

    watch or record programmes as they’re being shown on TV, on any channel
    watch or stream programmes live on an online TV service (such as ITV Hub, All 4, YouTube, Amazon Prime Video, Now TV, Sky Go, etc.)
    download or watch any BBC programmes on iPlayer.

    This applies to any device you use, including a TV, desktop computer, laptop, mobile phone, tablet, games console, digital box or DVD/VHS recorder.

    So ANY access to live broadcast TV, or BBC programmes even after broadcast.

    You can declare that this never applies to you and not pay, but they have the power to check on you and it is a criminal offence at present to declare falsely.

    My 15 year old almost never watches broadcast TV, live football or old Top Gear on Dave would be about all.


  2. Dear Cataline,
    The Wikipedia article sets out the background:

    and the opening paragraph chimes with my understanding of the position:

    “In the United Kingdom and the Crown dependencies, any household watching or recording live television transmissions as they are being broadcast (terrestrial, satellite, cable, or Internet) is required to hold a television licence. Businesses, hospitals, schools and a range of other organisations are also required to hold television licences to watch and record live TV broadcasts.[1] A television licence is also required to receive video on demand programme services provided by the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) on the iPlayer catch-up service. “.

    IOW, live broadcasts (regardless of broadcaster) require a license, but watching a commercial broadcaster’s catch-up services do not, unless the broadcaster is the BBC.

    FYI, as a Brit, it’s like a fish and water. The licence fee has been a part of my environment for as long as I have been alive, so it’s just part of the background noise.

    Of course, nowadays the proliferation of viewing methods makes enforcement problematic. They used to have detection vans which were “supposed” to be able to track the use of TVs receiving broadcasts. Programs received on 3G/4G? Sodomy non sapiens:).


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