Britain is stuck with the licence fee until 2038 because the Government’s failure to roll out super-fast broadband has left no viable alternative, MPs have concluded.

The Government’s pledge to deliver full-fibre broadband to every home by 2025 was downgraded to a target of just 85 per cent in November.

A subscription-based, universal alternative to the licence fee would require all households to be online before the next BBC Charter is negotiated for 2028-38. That now appears all but impossible, according to a report by the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee.

“It’s clear that the BBC TV licence fee has a limited shelf life in a digital media landscape. However, the Government has missed the boat to reform it,” said Julian Knight, the committee’s chairman.

That doesn’t sound like a reason at all. Rather, an opportunity to delay the decision for whatever spurity so as to maintain the status quo for a decade and more.

14 thoughts on “Long grass”

  1. Bloke in North Dorset

    The Government’s pledge to deliver full-fibre broadband to every home by 2025 was downgraded to a target of just 85 per cent in November.

    Good. The cost benefit at 85% must be quite tough even by government standards, at 100% coverage its insane.

  2. Since when does telly require “full fibre”? A bog-standard 10mbps line (already available to 98-99% of the country under BT’s Universal Service Obligation) is more than sufficient for HD television.

  3. The Meissen Bison

    Why is it the responsibility of Govt. to provide internet connections? How come subscription services manage to prosper in the present technical environment? And what does “full fibre” mean: is ‘fibre to cabinet’ not more than adequate?

    The depressing thing about the quality of MPs is not just that they are dim but that they are so completely lacking in curiosity. Today they will decide on renewing the Govt.’s covid powers. Bleat, bleat, bleat.

  4. Bloke in Montgomeryshire

    Round here the terrestrial reception is so bad, and the number of channels on fill-in transmitters so limited, that satellite dishes are everywhere, usually to receive the Beeb and ITV as well as for Sky. We are in one of the areas that would not be likely to get high speed broadband until well beyond 2027 on cost grounds. The solution is already here. All we need is to fit a set-top box and a card, a la Sky, to each TV and then the Beeb can be watched via satellite and those who watch it can pay for it. Which does not include me.

  5. Always excuses. Plenty of TV companies already offer subscription services in the U.K. What is so hard that the BBC can’t do the same?

  6. The House of Commons appears to be stuffed with people who come in at 2 or above on the Spud scale of ignorant stupidity. So we are going to continue with this “compulsory” tax, that is inadequate to fund a crap media service that much of the population complains about, simply because Parliament is not aware of satellite communications. If only the BBC were allowed to do a Netflix, or Sky, or Amazon Prime

  7. TMB is correct. Without the free market computers would still be govt/big business only tools, Even though military might have had original internet idea we certainly have present internet only by private efforts.

    So we don’t need the scum state to have Bband and likely many more innovations, Whole quote is more flaccid MP bullshit.

    However the BBC supports Johnson’s casedemic scam and his greenfreak Marxist-controlled evil. So I doubt he wants them smashed. If they had been actual conservatives and real tech supporters he would have already fixed their wagon. So we have scum supporting scum in both directions.

  8. Britain is stuck with the licence fee until 2038

    While this is just Parliament kicking the can down the road to avoid blame it won’t actually matter that much, since the kids don’t watch it at all (schedule based TV is as alien to them as TV) and with the ever increasing leftwing bias and other inanities the license cancellations grow every year.

    Long before 2038 the Beeb will have too few license payers to pay the rent, never mind Gary Lineker.

  9. I love it when UK govt. and media use the term “super-fast broadband”…

    Especially when you know what it actually entails. And what speed they define as “super-fast”.

  10. A subscription-based, universal alternative to the licence fee would require all households to be online before the next BBC Charter is negotiated for 2028-38.

    That’s obvious bullshit. Why does changing the method of paying for the propaganda require a different delivery transport?

    Sky manage to collect subscriptions for their broadcast feed. No reason the bbc can’t. In fact, when all TV broadcasts were about to go digital, it was suggested that all digital-capable TV sets sold in this country should include a CAM slot (conditional access module – the credit card sized card that goes in a Sky box). The bbc successfully lobbied to delete this requirement. So fuck ’em; they made their bed then, now it’s time for them to lie in it.

  11. Grikath

    Speed of Light. That’s pretty bloody super-fast 🙂

    I wonder if I could rig up a device to my telephone that squawks “BANDWIDTH” in a harsh metallic voice every time the person from BT says “speed”.

  12. Bernie G

    231 Mbps down and 22Mbps up 🙂 Ordinary cable TV cable to the house. Dunno what comes to the neighbourhood cabinet.

    I can pay ~$20 more per month and get ~400 Mbps down but doesn’t seem worthwhile just now.

    For contrast, I get 5-20 Mbps down in Normandy, over a cellular link. Not enough for a reliable Zoom video meeping 🙁

  13. Get an LTE modem and if necessary a 4/5G antenna. You can get modems that do carrier aggregation (Cat 6/12/19)
    With band aggregation you could get several hundred Mbps download speed on 4G and up to 1000Mbps on 5G. (If you have a mast in the vicinity)

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