Why is there no option to pay to watch the BBC outside of the UK?

I have just visited a property where an English couple have had to install a satellite dish the size of car just to be able to watch the BBC (well Blue Planet specifically). They have owned the house for a while as a holiday home but have recently moved over to the foothills permanently and now feel the need for that occasional connection with home via BBC television and radio.

When we first moved to France, getting any TV or radio station was relatively easy with the installation of a small satellite dish and a set top box but, a few years ago, the satellite footprint was changed and large swathes of South West France lost the signal. Since then, the only way to be able to watch TV from outside France has been to install a dish so huge that it cannot safely be installed on the roof or to attempt to watch via the internet using proxy servers that hide one’s location which may or may not work and are illegal.

Of course, there is the argument that when you move to France, you should watch French television, listen to French radio and read French newspapers but, certainly in the UK, we are spoiled by the quality of output from the BBC compared to the endless American imports and game shows on French television and sometimes it is important to feel that connection with home and one’s friends and relatives there, however high-brow you might intend life to be in France. Plus it is nice to feel a sense of belonging to more than one country (Europe anyone?)

So here is my question – if it is illegal to watch the BBC in France, why are we not given the option of paying the BBC licence fee so that we can then access it via the internet perfectly legally? I know lots of people (and not just British) who would happily pay the £145.50 per year or a similar subscription fee to be entitled to watch the BBC wherever they live in the world.  Moreover, according to a report by GlobalWebIndex, more than 60 million people are already watching BBC iPlayer for free outside of the UK by masking their location so there appears to be huge potential here for allowing people to subscribe, just as they do for the likes of Netflix which will have the added benefit of providing a huge increase in funding for the BBC. It just seems that it could be a win-win situation for all concerned – so can anyone tell me why this can’t be done?


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