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What is a television license in the UK?


Well-Known Member
Supporting Member
Aug 26, 2004
The BBC is paid for directly through each household TV licence. This allows it to run a wide range of popular public services for everyone, free of adverts and independent of advertisers, shareholders or political interests. 95.6% of the UK population used the BBC every month in 2004/5. The BBC provides 8 interactive TV channels, 10 radio networks, over 50 local TV and radio services and bbc.co.uk. These provide local and national news, documentaries, arts, drama, entertainment, live music and children's programmes. The BBC also runs social action, education and minority language programmes. Its considerable investment in British programmes supports production and craft skills throughout the UK.

BBC World Service is funded by Government grant and not your TV licence. Profits from separate BBC commercial services help to keep the licence fee low.

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How to pay and more information
The colour TV licence costs just over £10 per month - about 34p per day for each household. It is free if you are over 75, half-price if you are registered blind.

The annual cost (set by the Government) is currently £126.50. A black and white TV licence is £42. There is no radio licence. Other regulations govern second homes, residential homes, hotels, students or special situations.

In other words it's a government cash grab used to support a publicly funded network that apparently cannot survive on it's own, similar to PBS.


Kilted Arab

Well-Known Member
Apr 30, 2005
The BBC receives no income from advertisers - there are no commercial breaks on BBC programmes.

In effect, this means you can watch dramas, sports events, movies etc etc without having your viewing constantly interuppted.

The info Sling posted about the benefits is accurate. On the whole, I think it's a good thing and keeps the quality of programming generally higher than the other channels - the Beeb is, I believe, fairly well respected globally.

Where it falls downa tad is that there is no choice - you can't opt out, i.e. buy a TV with the condition you don't have access to BBC channels.


Well-Known Member
Jun 11, 2005
Sort of like our PBS we just have pledge drives and a little funding from uncle sam I take it.

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