Users of the BBC’s trial of TV-over-Wi-Fi networks will break the law if they plug in their mobile phones in locations not covered by a television licence, the TV Licensing Authority has warned.
The BBC has begun an early stage, or beta, trial of live television over Wi-Fi networks. The owners of phones with Wi-Fi connections can go online and see live streaming of BBC One, BBC Two and six other BBC stations, displayed as an image measuring 176 x 144 pixels. Radio stations are also available.
The service requires a TV licence and anyone who uses it whose home is not covered by a licence is committing an offence. But under a licensing quirk, so is anyone who plugs their handset into the mains electricity at a site which is not covered by a licence.
« You would have to have a TV licence already if you use your mobile phone to watch live TV, » said a TV Licensing Authority spokesman. « That home licence covers you unless you plug into the mains. »
The location of the mains must also have a TV licence or the law has been broken, the spokesman said. He said that it is the smartphone user, and not the owner of the premises, who is liable for the infringement.
Users are allowed, though, to plug their devices into the mains without breaking the law on a train, plane, boat or in a car. « If you plug into the mains at any address other than your home, that address would need to be covered. But licensing regulations cover you for when you are travelling, » he said.
No warning is given by the BBC of the fact that users of the service who have a TV licence at home could break the law.
« In order to use BBC LiveTV/Radio, you must have a full colour TV licence, » said the BBC’s guide to using the service. « It is a criminal offence to watch ‘live’ television without a TV licence or to possess or control a device which you know or reasonably believe will be used to watch ‘live’ TV without a TV licence. »
There is no mention of the law being broken if a handset is plugged in at an unlicensed premises.
The BBC did not say why it had not told users of the trial service of the danger of breaking the law.
« The BBC has been running a public beta to test live TV/Radio, on a limited number of Wi-Fi enabled handsets, via the mobile homepage since last September, » said a statement. « The purpose is to test uptake and quality and assess how we might be able to stream live services to an increasing number of mobile devices in the future. »
The TV Licensing Authority said that 98% of UK households have televisions, and that the licence evasion rate is 5%.
It is a criminal offence to watch TV without a licence and the penalty is a fine of up to £1,000.
BBC signs deal with Wi-Fi operator The Cloud to extend public access to online content
Category: New Media
Lien : http://www.bbc.co.uk/pressoffice/pressreleases/stories/2007/10_october/16/cloud.shtml
The BBC has become the first UK broadcaster to have all of its online content made available free via Wi-Fi, it was announced today by BBC Director of Future Media & Technology Ashley Highfield.
The non-exclusive venture enables the public to access all bbc.co.uk content for free through the UK’s largest network of hotspots, operated by The Cloud.
The 7,500 hotspots are located at a multitude of locations across the UK, including McDonald’s, Coffee Republic and BAA airports (Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted), as well as a number of outdoor locations including Canary Wharf and the City of London.
Users will be able to access bbc.co.uk via an interactive video highlighting a range of content available or via a BBC logo, both of which are located on The Cloud’s landing site.
Ashley Highfield said: « We’re delighted to be partnering with The Cloud in what we hope is the first of many such partnerships across the UK. This is a new environment for the BBC and one which we believe will be hugely important for our future success.
« This venture enables us to offer free Wi-Fi access to BBC content on the high street, furthering the BBC’s commitment to make its content as widely available as possible to our audiences wherever they are. For instance, they can catch up on Strictly Come Dancing while having a caffe latte in Coffee Republic. »
Owen Geddes, Group Director of Business Development at The Cloud, added: « Wi-Fi is emerging as the technology of choice for media and content owners wanting to extend their reach beyond traditional channels.
« The explosion of media-capable devices, coupled with the high bandwidth and low cost Wi-Fi offers, means high-quality video and audio can be delivered to people wherever they are. The Cloud is leading the market, working with visionary thinkers like the BBC, in bringing content over wireless broadband to the mass market. »
In this initial phase, visitors to bbc.co.uk via The Cloud network will be able to view BBC content on all Wi-Fi compatible devices.
However, users will only be able to download programmes from BBC iPlayer via a laptop.
In due course it is expected that the service will be available via mobile phones and other smart handheld devices.