BBC licence fee: Ahead of price rise broadband expert explains how to legally avoid paying the fee
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Following news the BBC licence fee will rise by £10.50 to £169.50 a year, a broadband comparison site explains how you can opt out of the charge altogether. The Culture Secretary confirmed today (December 7), the household payment, which funds much of the corporation’s operations, and had been frozen at £159, was set to rise in line with inflation next year.
TV and streaming expert at Broadband Genie, Alex Tofts, explained how the increase reflects the difficult circumstances the entertainment industry currently faces and how TV providers are ‘under pressure’. He said: “An increase to the licence fee has been on the horizon for some months now, but thankfully it won’t take effect until April 2024.
“The reality is that the entertainment industry is becoming increasingly difficult to fund, with both terrestrial and pay-TV providers facing the difficult decision to either increase prices, or pump out more adverts. The cost of producing good quality content is increasing, and with the rise of Ultra-HD cinematography, there is even more pressure to create visually appealing programmes and films.”
The BBC are not the only programming providers having to increase charges with popular streaming services including Disney+, Amazon Prime and Apple TV+ all hiking prices recently too. Tofts said: “Streaming customers are not exempt from price rises either, and while a 6.6% increase to the licence fee will be unwelcome news to many, it pales in comparison to the 38% rise facing some Disney+ subscribers this month.
“In fact, Disney+ customers in the UK will collectively see a price rise of up to £274 million per year, followed by £156 million for Amazon Prime members paying monthly, and £53 million for those with Apple TV+.”
However, for those who pay the TV licence fee but watch on demand services without opting to view programming on BBC iPlayer, you may be able to reduce your monthly outgoings. Toft explains: “There are ways to avoid the licence fee rise for those looking to save the pennies.
“When viewing on demand channels using your broadband connection, it is only the BBC that requires you to pay the charge. Using the likes of Channel 4 On Demand, or ITVX, will allow you to stream for free, provided you are willing to sit through ads.
“Be careful though, as you need to warn TV Licensing that you do not require one, or else you may be subject to an inspection.”
And it’s worth remembering also, for viewers over the age of 75, you are entitled to receive your TV licence for free, as Toft says “there are still many pensioners out there that don’t realise this”. He added: “TV can be a lifeline for elderly people, especially during the cold winter months.”