In the UK and Crown Dependencies, anyone who wants to watch live TV transmissions in real time as they are being broadcast, or who wants to record them as they are being broadcast, whether by terrestrial radio signal, satellite, cable or internet, must by law hold a TV licence.
Public facilities which show or record TV programmes or channels, such as hospitals, schools, businesses, prisons, and a range of other organisations must also hold TV licences if they wish to show or record the live TV broadcasts without facing legal repercussions.
Income from TV licencing is generally used to provide funds for the BBC, whose tv channels and programmes, radio programmes, internet services and other available services all operate independent of advertising, shareholders or political donors. As a result, the BBC can operate independent of pressures from corporations, political parties, shareholders or any other external force, making them a truly independent and politically neutral broadcaster – a rare and precious thing in this increasingly-privatised world.
TV Licence FAQs
Why Would I Need To Call The TV Licence Telephone Number?
If you have or watch a TV, or if you view BBC streaming services like BBC iPlayer, you may need to call the TV Licence telephone number at some point, for some reason. For example, you may be wondering whether streaming on a laptop means you need a tv licence, or you may be wondering whether TV licence inspectors ever turn up in a specific outfit or whether they have any means of knowing whether you’ve watched TV without a licence, for example by bugging your house or using a van that has machines inside that can determine whether you’re watching TV right now. You may also wish to register a complaint at having been improperly fined, or having dealt with a particularly unpleasant TV licence inspecting personality.
As further examples, you may wish to call:
- To find out whether you need to have a TV licence
- To register a complaint
- To get more information about TV licencing
- To find out if they actually prosecute people for not having TV licences
- To find out whether there’s an inspection schedule
- To arrange paying your TV licence
- To find out whether you need a TV licence if you exclusively illegally stream things
Other Useful TV Licence Phone Numbers
|TV Licence||Phone Number|
|Head Office||0843 557 3770|
|Security Advisory||0843 557 3770|
|Complaints||0843 557 3770|
TV Licence Contact Phone Line Opening Hours
TV Licence Head Office Address
|Head Office|| TV Licensing
TV Licence FAQs
Why do I need a TV Licence?
You need a TV licence because without licence fees, terrestrial television cannot survive. If no-one paid their TV licence fees, there would soon be no TV left to watch, which would lessen the world somewhat. Also, you can be criminally prosecuted if you don’t have one, so that’s a powerful reason to get one.
In the Communications Act of 2003, Section 363 specifically makes it illegal, and a criminal offence, to install or use a TV receiver to watch any television programmes or channels in real time, without a TV licence. Section 265 of that same Act specifies that that fee will go to the BBC, and will be used for the betterment of the British televisual experience.
What does my TV Licence money do?
A standard colour TV Licence costs £145.50 – the equivalent of £12.13 per month or just under 40p per day.
The fee goes towards a large number of different types of Tv content, radio content, and online content, as well as being used by research and development agencies dedicated to finding new ways to deliver that content to your eyes! The majority of the licence fee money is used for the BBC, while the rest is used to help roll broadband internet out to the entire UK, helping to connect the country like never before. Small portions are used to help support Welsh-language TV channel S4C, and the remainder goes onto local TV channels. All of the divisions of the licence fee money was agreed and standardised by the UK Government in the 2010 licence fee settlement.
The licence fee is critically important to the BBC and its services as it allows them to remain free of advertisement, and means it need no shareholders and no stock. In todays hyper-capitalist world, that is unfortunately the only way to ensure political neutrality, a feature which is utterly unique on the BBC within Britain. No shareholder interest, no dependence on adverts, no political lobbying or influence.
The fees are collected in the most cost-efficient way possible to ensure the maximum amount of the money collected goes to doing the good work of maintaining communications and the political neutrality of the BBC. Only 6% or so of the licence fee is taken up by the collection itself every year, freeing the rest for better use.
The Government has frozen the licence fee at its 2010 level of £145.50 until 31 March 2017.
When does the TV licence expire?
Your TV licence lasts for one year – make sure to pay attention to its expiry date when you receive it! You will need to apply for a new TV licence before the old one expires – that is, while it is active – to ensure constant coverage. Any period in which you are watching TV without a licence – even if it is simply in the time between your previous licence expiring and your new one taking effect – is time in which you may be fined for your illegal telly watching.
You will be notified in the weeks leading up to your TV licence expiry by mail, and will be able to reply to the letters to apply for a new one.
How many TV Licence prosecutions are there?
The TV Licencing Agency has not released figures on how many TV Licence prosecutions there are – but does provide some other information on crime and punishment. According to the authorities on the subject, if you do not have a TV licence then you are breaking the law if you watch or record a TV programme as it is being shown in real time, or use BBC iPlayer in ANY CAPACITY.
These alws apply no matter the device you are using to watch the shows – whether you watch on a TV, a desktop, a laptop, a tablet computer, a smartphone, a Playstation, XBox, Gameboy or other gaming console device, a digital box or a DVD/Blu-Ray/VHS/Cassette recorder machine. If the TV licencing agency finds that you have partaken in the above illegal activities, then you may face prosecution, which may be ordered if you are found to have been watching, downloading or recording programmes with no TV licence – that is, illegally.
The maximum punishment you may face is a hefty fine of £1000 plus legal fees and court costs, and any compensation that you owe the BBC, as your withholding of licence fee money may have caused them grievous harm.
Please note, that in Guernsey, the maximum fee is £2000, as people there are in need of a firmer hand when it comes to TV licencing. The considerably more pliable TV-watching population of Jersey need only be fined a maximum of £500.
Considering the cost of these penalties, the licence fee of only £145.50 seems much more reasonable, especially considering that the cost essentially translates to less than 40p per day!