TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: British TV License (was America the Worst For Cell Rates and

Re: British TV License (was America the Worst For Cell Rates and

Paul Coxwell (
Tue, 1 Feb 2005 12:48:43 -0000

> Maybe the ordinary British police are not routinely armed, but I saw
> plenty of British officers (police? military?) armed with submachine guns
> when I was in London. In fact, I saw far more subguns in one week in
> London that I saw during my entire life in the US. The same was true in
> Europe.

Indeed. I've not traveled by air for some time now, but a few years
ago you would regularly see guys in flak-jackets and carrying sub
machine-guns walking around Heathrow and Gatwick airports. I never
saw anything like that at JFK, Newark, O'Hare, or any other
U.S. airport I passed through (maybe things have changed in the light
of more recent events; I don't know). It made me wonder what newly
arrived tourists to the U.K. must have thought.

> Given a choice between police with pistols (and we have pistols too) and
> subgun-toting goons over a disarmed population, I'll take the former.
> Europeans may think that this is crazy; but I think that Europeans are
> crazy to willingly live in a society where their law enforcement carries
> subguns.

You know that a few years ago our present government tightened our
already overly-oppressive restrictions on private gun ownership even
further? Strangely enough though, we're being told that gun crime is
still on the increase in the major cities (hence the greater numbers
of cops who are being armed).

When I returned to England from living in the U.S. in 1996, you would
not believe the number of people who quizzed me about America's "gun
culture." Wasn't I worried about cops being armed? Wasn't it
dangerous everywhere? I'm sure they didn't believe me when I told
them I wasn't the slightest bit worried about the local Sheriff having
a gun and that in fact where I was (rural Nebraska) the crime rate was
actually much lower than in most of Britain.

> BBC-TV is available on the non-UK satellite services in NTSC. If your
> satellite service didn't actually have any BBC programming, it might
> be legal. But the issue is that if you are in the UK, and you have a
> device capable of receiving BBC programming, you must pay a license.
> Whether it is over the air or over some other service like satellite
> or cable.

> Likewise if you have an older NTSC set incapable of receiving
> programmming over the air, connected to an NTSC VCR, that should not
> require any license since it cannot be used to watch the BBC.

Just to clarify the legalities here, it not just an installation which
can receive BBC broadcasts. A license is required to receive *ANY*
U.K-sourced TV signal.

A fairly regular question here over the years has been "Why don't the
set manufacturers produce a TV which will receive only the independent
stations, not the BBC?" The answer is that it even if they did the
law still requires a license to watch the commercial stations, even if
the set was incapable of showing BBC broadcasts. That's something
which a lot of people don't realize, and something which makes this
legally required subsidy of the BBC seem very unfair to those who do.

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