Do you need a U.K. TV License?

A U.S. Air Force Airman watches television at her leisure on RAF Mildenhall, England. Off-base military members in the U.K are required to purchase a TV License if they watch or record live TV at home on any device to include laptops or tablets. While some military members do not own a television, the law includes online websites, apps or smart TV services. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Justine Rho)

A U.S. Air Force Airman watches television at her leisure on RAF Mildenhall, England. Off-base military members in the U.K are required to purchase a TV License if they watch or record live TV at home on any device to include laptops or tablets. While some military members do not own a television, the law includes online websites, apps or smart TV services. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Justine Rho)

RAF MILDENHALL, England – Starting Sept. 1, 2016, all residents in the U.K. will be legally required to purchase a TV License to download or watch BBC programs on demand on BBC iPlayer- regardless of device or provider. The TV License law will remain the same, but will now specifically include BBC iPlayer on demand.

According to a representative from TV License customer service, U.K. residents are required to purchase coverage if they watch or record TV programs at home on any device to include laptops, tablets or smartphones. While some military members don’t own a television, the law also includes online websites, apps or smart TV services.

A portion of the license fee funds BBC programs and services, contribute to the cost of spreading broadband throughout the country and allows the BBC’s U.K. services to remain free of advertisements.

Some questions were answered by the 100th Air Refueling Wing Judge Advocate Office to assist in deciphering whether or not a household requires a license.

“If you are not watching live TV, a license is not required even if any of your devices have the capability to stream live TV,” said Master Sgt. Alexander Puma, 100th ARW legal office superintendent. “Additionally, a license is not required to listen to radio on BBC iPlayer or to download and watch programs from popular providers, such as Netflix, Amazon and Roku.”

Residents on base are not exempt from this law.

“Individuals living on base are required to have a TV license under exactly the same rules as the off-base populace because the dorms and base housing are recognized as private residences,” said Tracey Cooper, Ministry of Defense, British liaison officer at the 100th ARW legal office. “Official buildings, such as the finance building, are covered by a blanket license held by the base commander.”

According to the TV Licensing webpage, a standard color-television license costs £145.50 annually. If a household is violating the law, this criminal offense can lead to prosecution and a fine up to £1,000.

“There is a database of approximately 31 million licensed and unlicensed addresses,” explained Puma. “If you inform them that you do not watch television, enforcement officers may still visit you to confirm this.”

If your home doesn’t need a license call 0300 790 6054 or submit a notice at http://www.tvlicensing.co.uk/noTV and visit http://www.tvlicensing.co.uk/ to learn more about TV Licensing.