In the UK, families need to purchase a television licence in order to watch programming as it is being broadcast live. The TV licence is also needed to stream any live content from streaming services, such as BBC iPlayer and Amazon Prime. Failure to comply with this obligation to pay the licence fee could result in Britons getting a fine of up to £1,000.
With the World Cup capturing the nation’s attention, the public are being reminded how specific TV licence rules need to be complied with or financial penalties will be handed out to people.
At work, employees are allowed to watch or stream live content as long as they are watching it on their own devices and have a valid television licence at home. However, if the device runs out of battery or needs to be plugged in, people could run into trouble.
When the device needs to be plugged into a main socket at work, Britons are required to have a separate TV Licence for the building they are in and whose electricity supply they are using.
As a result, someone who is watching the World Cup on their lunch break at work will need to make sure their employers and building has a valid television licence if they are charging their device.
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TV Licensing explained: “If your device is not plugged in (ie you’re watching or recording live TV programmes on any channel, or downloading or watching BBC programmes on BBC iPlayer, using devices powered solely by internal batteries) you will be covered by your home TV Licence.
“If you plug your device into the mains, you’ll be covered if that property already has a TV Licence. Otherwise, you’ll need to buy a separate TV Licence for that property.”
On the TV Licensing website, the regulatory body breaks down who may be forced to pay a £1,000 fine if they fail to adhere to existing rules.
The organisation stated: “You could be prosecuted if we find that you have been watching, recording or downloading programmes illegally.
“The maximum penalty is a £1,000 fine plus any legal costs and/or compensation you may be ordered to pay.”
TV Licensing also highlighted how it is able detect if households are in fact covered by the television licence.
The institution added: “We have a database of approximately 31 million licensed and unlicensed addresses. This tells us if your address has a TV Licence. All our visiting officers have access to this database. This means they can check if you have a licence or not.
“If you tell us that you do not need a TV Licence, our officers may still visit you to confirm this. We also have a fleet of detector vans that can detect the use of TV receiving equipment at specifically targeted addresses within minutes.”
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How much is the licence fee?
As it stands, the cost of a television licence is £159 for a colour licence and £53.50 for a black and white licence if someone were to pay the amount.
The licence fee usually rises slightly every year with the BBC hoping it would have increased in line with inflation in 2022.
However, the Government announced earlier this year that the licence fee would be frozen for two years as it explored alternative funding options for the BBC.
As a result, the TV licence will continue to be at £159 until 2024 before rising in line with inflation for four years.
Are there TV licence discounts?
Groups which are considered economically vulnerable by the Government could be eligible for concessions when it comes to the licence fee. It should be noted that while the BBC is in-charge of the administration of the television licence, the Government is tasked with setting any discounts.
Those who are registered as legally blind could be entitled to 50 percent of their licence, which covers their entire household. If this were to be applied, a TV licence for a blind person would cost £79.50 for colour and £26.75 for a black and white TV licence.
However, those looking to claim this discount must have evidence from the NHS or council showing they are blind. Examples of qualifying evidence include either a Certificate of Visual Impairment (CVI) or a BD8 Certificate.
Furthermore, a letter from an eye surgeon confirming an applicant’s blindness and a certificate from someone’s Local Authority is also considered proof. As well as blind people, anyone who lives in a residential care home, supported housing or sheltered accommodation may be eligible for a discounted TV licence.