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BBC cuts access to iPlayer through VPNs

As we know a VPN provides a secure way for you to connect one computer to another over the Internet. In the old days, a direct connection would be achieved by using dial-up modems but the ubiquity of the Internet makes it easier to use it for the connection. They have many uses of course; using a UK VPN masks your true location, and convinces the BBC you’re in the country and presumably a license payer. However, the BBC is planning to block access to iPlayer from UK VPNs, no doubt to the dismay of those fans that wish to watch such shows as Doctor Who and others broadcast by the “beeb”.

According to the corporation the move is to stop, or at least deter pirates from accessing its iconic dramas, comedies, documentaries, together with many other programmes, which of course are funded by British license fee payers. We cannot say whether this has anything to do with the new charges that the corporation is to charge for streaming to the USA from next year, but it could be.

When implemented, if you are overseas and try to watch iPlayer via a VPN, you will be unable to do so and will get the message: “BBC iPlayer TV programmes are available to play in the UK only.” The BBC is quite unapologetic and said: “BBC iPlayer is freely available to users across the UK without a VPN, and we also seek to ensure users of private VPNs such as those used by schools and companies in the UK have access.”

We are not entirely sure how the BBC intends to block access to these VPNs, we understand that it has drawn up a list of VPN providers, and has blocked the connection. It may of course be possible for someone running their own personal VPN, through a lone server to avoid the blockage, but we are not sure.

We do know that the BBC ran a licensed subscription service in Western Europe, Australia, and Canada of its iPlayer, but this was cancelled in May of this year, this was not available in the USA and that country is the corporation’s biggest market operating a channel named BBC America.

Naturally the blockade is bad news for VPN providers who profit from those who want to watch BBC content. VPN provider Torguard condemned the blockade as heavy handed and harmful to security. Ernesto Van der Sar, founder and editor of the Torrent Freak blog commented on the ban by saying: “This effectively stops foreigners and expats from accessing the service, but it also affects license paying UK citizens who use a VPN to browse the Internet securely.”

So will you be affected by not getting your weekly “fix” of Doctor Who and the like?



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