Glad I Don't Live in England

You know that old saying about how you learn something new every day? Well, I just found out recently while watching a YouTube video that in the United Kingdom people have to actually pay a license to basically own a TV in order to watch live broadcasts.

While researching this further I learned two things:

  1. The BBC pulled one of the greatest April Fool's Day pranks ever back in 1991 by taking over the administration of television licensing in the United Kingdom but somehow forgot to end the joke April 2nd. I guess by the time they realized the mistake it would have been embarrassing to end it and apologize.
  2. It's not just in the United Kingdom. Other countries also require by law that people get a television license. I guess the general rule of thumb is anywhere people think license is spelled l-i-c-e-n-c-e you have to get one but that makes it seem more like a tax on bad spelling.

Are you kidding me? I own a class IIIb 10 mW laser that can cause eye injuries if proper safety is ignored and I am not required to have a license to own that. If my ancestors hadn't come to America hundreds of years ago I would right now be living in England and legally required to pay a license to watch live TV. Why? Is it because too much TV can hurt your eyes?

I guarantee I wouldn't be paying for a license if history had been different so there's not much alternate universe scenario to contemplate there.

No, I take that back. I can speculate on that alternate universe. It's really simple. Take Guy Fawkes, transport him to the 21st century and replace the Parliament building with the BBC London headquarters. Well, maybe not that extreme. I love watching BBC America on a TV I don't need a license for. I'd at least be wearing a Guy Fawkes mask picketing BBC headquarters.

Or I would be a crazy conspiracy theorist on steemit claiming that big news events like the public funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales and the recent royal wedding are really covert sting operations carried out by the BBC to uncover people watching live TV without a license. Yeah, probably the second scenario is more likely.

Even if there is some parallel universe in which my conspiracy minded counterpart is one blog post away from being put on a diet of chlorpromazine why aren't the people of England protesting TV licenses in this universe? I care enough to blog against it and I don't even live there. I am 5,453 miles away from London. No, I don't know what that is in kilometers. Google knows me well enough to only show me miles when I search how far away London is. 

Really? Pay for the privilege to own a TV to watch live broadcasts? Isn't England a First World country? I am an American and even I don't have that First World problem. I do get it though. The BBC is one step above that thing we in America know as National Public Radio. Fine. You need to pay for the infrastructure. I get it. Over here in America we have something known as the "Gore tax" to provide the internet to schools and libraries. But that's a tax and not a license. We simply don't have licenses to watch live TV. The closest thing to a television license I have is as an amateur radio operator I can transmit video over some of the frequencies allocated for ham radio use. However, that license isn't as much for broadcasting video as it is for making sure I am responsible enough not to interfere with nearby wireless communications. A ham radio license for experimenting with amateur television is a real license. What you people in England and elsewhere are really buying is a bill of goods from the BBC. It costs money to put up and maintain radio broadcasting antennas so why isn't the BBC requiring everyone to have a license to listen to live radio broadcasts to help offset that cost?

Is that last question me tuning in to the frequency of my parallel universe counterpart blogging again about television license conspiracies? I am not sure but I think so.

The guy in the YouTube video connected to this post mentions the licensing fee covers TV and radio communication costs so apparently, I guess, you still have to get a TV license if you don't own a TV but own a radio. I don't know. I can't even figure out why it seems nobody has ever stolen one of those BBC detection vans to see if that detection technology does exist. Very little of that TV licensing idea makes sense to me.

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