Today I have started the process of cancelling my TV Licence. It’s not something I wanted to do but I’ve been backed into a corner with it. On the 29th December I was happily watching BBC content on my computer, and then on the 30th I get a message informing me that I am no longer in the UK. I’ve got a static IP address assigned to me and absolutely nothing about my configuration has changed so why it works one day and not the next could be down to anything. Here’s where the fun begins!

I checked a few Geo-IP databases that I’ve used in the past (including the one that the BBC themselves use), and they all report me as being in the UK. They’re a little out, as they put me in the South, but it’s the right country. I also post a message on the forums for my ISP where a staff member replied within 5 minutes (out of hours on the day before New Year’s Eve) saying it was definitely UK registered and going through the normal checks as to whether I’m using a VPN/proxy etc. 

So, back to the BBC. The link that I’m given to click on for more information about me not being in the UK doesn’t actually go anywhere. I think it used to once upon a time so I start searching through the help archives. It turns out there’s a form to fill in to report this kind of issue… which asks for 21 pieces of information and does a full refresh of the page 10 times, before failing to post the data. So after filling that form in twice, I get a confirmation email and then the following day a response from a human saying that it has been forwarded to the correct department (which as the form has an explicit “I’ve been told I’m not in the UK but I really am” option on it it should have started off in the correct department) and it may take several days to take effect.

Not the greatest of experiences so far, but at least it’s going the right way. New Year comes and goes, and there’s still no change for my IP address. The email has a case reference number in it… and no way to reply to it. You have to go to the form and fill it in again (which creates a new case which will no doubt also need routing to the correct department). So I did that earlier in the week and mentioned that I would be cancelling my licence if it wasn’t resolved by the end of the week.

That may sound a bit drastic, but the rooftop aerial I have doesn’t get a signal. iPlayer is the only means by which I can watch BBC content and if they’re going to decide that I’m no longer in the UK and not eligible to receive content then they can expect to be compensated accordingly! I don’t resent having to pay a licence fee under normal circumstances, but it seems like a bit of a pointless expense if I’m not going to be getting anything for it!

(Technically I believe I don’t _need_ a TV licence anyway, as I don’t watch live content using iPlayer, just the on-demand programmes, but I do believe in contributing for the service)