The BBC's royal charter will be renewed and its licence fee will continue until 2016, Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell has said.
The government has said that the BBC must play fairly with the market, encourage independent production and that the current governance is unsustainable.
The government Green Paper comes a year after public consultation over the BBC's future following the Hutton report.
What do you think of the government's Green Paper? What does the future hold for the BBC? Should the licence fee have been extended?
This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.
The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received so far:
I have maintained that if you want to know what's happening in the world, watch the BBC. If you want to know what Americans think is happening in the world, watch CNN. Any effort that will ensure the BBC's ongoing independence is worth it.
Sanjay Uppal, Dubai, UAE
Radio, internet and one public service TV channel should be funded through income tax. The other entertainment TV channels should be an optional subscription. I would pay, although I'd like to be able to opt out of the children's' channels. The TV licence is out-dated. Why should TV owners only pay for BBC online?
Paul, Staffs, UK
All the Government needs to do is release the BBC from ANY government interference. Apart from that I'm quite happy to pay my licence fee. It's remarkable value compared to the pay channels that broadcast endless repeats but don't make any programmes!
Tessa Jowell and the Governor of the BBC mentioned during recent interviews that maintaining the licence fee would ensure a better service for their customers. Might I remind you that the use of the word 'customer' would intimate that the 'customers' have a choice as to whether or not to buy the product. I have no choice. In order to receive TV programs no matter who they originate from, I am required by law, ably backed up by the hounds of the BBC, to buy a TV licence.
Ken Smith, Grimsby, UK
I think the licence fee represents superb value for money. When you consider how little it is and how much is done in the way of excellent programmes and entertainment. Try getting as much entertainment in the cinema or high street with the same amount and it wouldn't last a fortnight! We are a nation of whingers who don't appreciate a great asset until it is no longer there. If you watch five live rugby matches a year on telly, you've already saved money
Richard Gibbs, Swansea
People may well want so called "quality television" such as that provided by the BBC. But why should I pay for it if I don't want it? Paying a television licence fee, in this age of subscription television multi channel, to fund other people's television programmes is totally unfair.
Shaun Hollingworth, Rotherham, UK
People who want to scrap the licence fee are part of the something for nothing brigade. Changing the BBC to a subscription channel or having funding from adverts is something that should not be considered. The UK public will not know what they have lost until they lose it. I can't think of anything better to spend 33p per day on. It's only when you live out of the UK that you begin to realise just how special the BBC is and why it should be preserved and cherished. Quite simply nobody does it better.
This is addressed to all those who don't want to pay the license fee because they don't watch the BBC. I don't watch ITV (ever) and I still have to pay for it and all the other commercial TV stations (terrestrial and satellite) every time I go into a shop and buy something. Advertising revenue isn't free cash, consumers have to pay for it. Add it all up, and the cost for ITV is much more than £120.
James Tandy, London, UK
I'm concerned that BBC news won't have the independence that it always has shown. We in the United States rely on your news services. Our mega-corporations influence much of the dialogue and thus we don't focus on world news very much. It's too filled with celebrity news or the sensation of the week. Please don't change your format.
L Merrill, Phila, USA
Thank God the licence fee is staying! The BBC's unique position means that it sets the bar very high for the independent sector. The licence fee doesn't just deliver the BBC, it improves the quality of the entire television industry.
Mike Jones, Cardiff, Wales
All the people who are saying that they don't mind paying their TV licence. Make them pay for it - make the BBC subscription only. If those are the people that want it, let them have it but don't force other people to pay for it when they don't even use it.
Venny Sheehan, Manchester, UK
Why are we so worried about adverts? We already have a good three minutes of in-house advertising on the BBC every half-hour as it is. Allow the BBC to sell this space to commercial advertisers, and then cut the licence fee proportionately based on the ad revenues received. Result: same old BBC, still publicly owned, but cheaper for citizens of the UK.
Paul Tomlinson, Nottingham, Great Britain
I believe an independent public service broadcaster is extremely important and am happy to continue to pay the licence fee. Having a commercial monopoly on our TVs would be a great blow to democracy. I also agree that the BBC should concentrate on providing good public service rather than chasing ratings. I am astonished to read comments on the 'extreme bias' of the BBC.
Paul Wood, Northwich, England
It worries me very much when Tessa Jowell starts meddling with our public broadcasting service. I am concerned there will be no board of governors to act as a buffer zone between the executives and the government. How convenient. The BBC have been a great ambassador in the field of broadcasting worldwide and I would hate to lose the ability to be able to settle down to watch a good programme without being bombarded with trashy advertising, worth the licence fee in my opinion.
Scrap the licence fee it's an unfair tax. The BBC should compete for advertising and revenue the same as any other business and stop taking money out of taxpayers' pockets. If this happened in any other country there would be outrage. Tessa Jowell says this is the fairest way to fund the BBC - fair to whom exactly, not licence fee payers that's for sure. The BBC must be rubbing its hands in glee at the news that it doesn't have to work for its revenue for the next ten years unlike other stations.
Adrian Taylor, Swindon, England
I'm so pleased that the BBC will keep the licence. You just have to look across the Atlantic for an idea of what will happen if the BBC is forced to go commercial. Do you really want to have your viewing dictated by the advertising concerns of a few major corporations? Because that is precisely what will happen. Just look at all the reality TV on the other channels already. As for news reporting, the BBC is second to none. The alternative is dumbing down and the broadcasting of fear. You will be kept well informed of all the supposed fearful things happening outside of your front door and kept in the dark as to what is happening anywhere else in the world. Long live the BBC!
Jason Thompson, Newcastle, UK
I don't understand why I have pay £1.50 a month, so that the rest of the world (outside the UK) can access the BBC online content and all the BBC radio stations for free.
Brian, Huntingdon, UK
The BBC is value for money - I only watch the BBC - excellent programmes and sports coverage. Let's hope the BBC survives the next lot of changes. It's a British tradition to moan - we moan about the weather and the BBC licence fee - we can't do anything about either! Be grateful for the BBC - we should be proud of it - I am.
Nicola Lee, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire
I am very happy to pay the licence fee for BBC services, to maintain the most respected broadcaster in the world. However I do wish they would not try to mix it with the other more populist broadcasters, but produce better quality programmes with less awful repeats sometimes seen several times.
Norman West, Truro UK
I do not have a TV, but I listen to BBC Radio. I do not need a licence, but I get regular letters from the licensing authority that are almost accusative in nature, intimating that I have a TV and threatening visits and fines etc. I now see that 10% of the licence fee goes to collecting the fee. Since government sets the fee anyway, why not cut out a useless department and collect direct through the tax system, with the extra 10% going towards better programming?
Nick, Woodley, UK
I have cable and watch a lot (probably too much) TV. I rarely watch the BBC (sometimes BBC3). I hate the snobbish attitude that if I am not watching the BBC then I must be watching trash. Has anyone seen the Discovery Channel, History Channel etc? All great channels with brilliant 'non-commercial' programming. When I have 50 channels why should I pay a substantial fee to have two of them? I couldn't care less about adverts, if it means I save more than £100 a year, then so be it.
The Licence fee is clearly a tax on all viewers and I don't believe it has the "High degree of public support" that Tessa Jowell claims, I think the truth is that Westminster politicians need the BBC to give them lots of "free" publicity.
Ian Dobell, Birmingham
I'm all in favour of the BBC being funded by a licence fee. The quality of the BBC is as high as ever, but with multi-channel TV that quality is spread out. New comedy on BBC3 and non-mainstream documentaries on BBC4 for example whereas BBC2 was previously the channel for these. However the BBC's quality is not always as good as its rivals, Sky now leads the way in TV innovation with the BBC trailing - look at the difference between Sky News and BBC News 24 for example.
Chris Clarke, Loughborough, UK
Of all the taxes we have to pay the licence fee is the one that I don't mind paying. Just look at the deterioration of ITV since it decided to swap the business of broadcasting for the business of business in the early 90s. Many of the comments here also smack of the 'me, me, me' culture that is now endemic in this (increasing selfish) country. I put my kids through private education but I don't moan about funding state education. I keep myself fit and well and rarely trouble the NHS. Do I moan about having to contribute to either? No, because, (and this may sound unfashionable), it is there to benefit other people - not just myself.
Paul, Manchester, UK
Yes, let's scrap the licence fee and pump the channels full of self-publicising celebrity tat like ITV! Let's have the commercial interests dictate what can and can't be shown! Brilliant! Let's get rid of the funding for this very website - bbc.co.uk can live off pop-ups! Fill Radio 4 with in-depth documentaries on the benefits of hamburgers! long live the BBC, I'll gladly pay.
Russell Newlove, Driffield, UK
The problem with the licence fee is who pays what. Many are exempt or require a single licence for buildings with many sets and viewers, like hotels, and yet students, for example, living in halls are required to each have their own licence even though they only live there for part of the year. Even if the licence is retained the rules need to be reviewed.
George Copping, Ipswich, England
Seems like a name change - Board of Governors now to be called Trustees, responsibilities remain the same plus the funding formula is still the old fashioned licence fee. I wonder how much this little episode cost?
Ken, Wallington, Surrey
I believe the BBC should be funded from public funds, however I do object to the licence fee. Perhaps a mixture of money from the satellite and cable operators together with a slice of income tax would be more appropriate. The online service the BBC provides is probably the best in the world and I do genuinely believe that the digital services are getting better - BBC4 especially.
Chris Sherwood, Bristol, UK
The BBC is a dinosaur whose public service mandate is no longer relevant. The licence fee should be abolished and the BBC face the pressures and constraints of the real world.
John, London UK
Look to the right and left of these letters and what do you see? White space, where the BBC could be generating income. But why should it bother, when us mugs finance it through the TV licence?
Colin Wright, UK
Colin Wright misses the reason that I like the BBC. It has no adverts. Please let's stop the stupidity, put up the licence fee by about £20 and ensure that the BBC has the structure to continue to provide good quality programmes.
Barry P, Havant England
The Licence fee is not a tax on the poor, as some people think. After all everybody has the choice whether to pay it or not. The same price for the same rights is the fairest way that I can see. Give me the BBC over commercial broadcasters any day!
Andy B, Nottingham, UK
The fact that American TV is amongst the worst in the world, all goes to prove that quantity does not result in quality. Also, people do not have TV sets to watch advertisements, they buy them to watch programmes. The focus and quality of the BBC is to be applauded and must be retained at all costs, no matter what the government funding process may be. A BBC reliant on advertising income and TV ratings, would be a national disaster!
Rodney Steel, Chesham, England
The license fee should have been scrapped years ago - why should the public many of whom are low income families go on funding the mismanagement of such a corporation. The BBC is a business like any other it should go out and earn its income like any other.
Steve , Yorkshire
I'll happily pay the licence fee twice if you take Eastenders off the air.
I think it's a disgrace that we will have to keep paying the licence fee. All we get are second rate repeats of old comedies, soaps and cooking programmes! Make the BBC a subscription channel like SKY then we can choose to have it or not. At present if I don't pay the fee I can't watch ITV, Channel 4 or 5 and SKY, and risk going to prison. Why is that?
John Ray, Boston. Lincolnshire
Thank goodness the licence fee has been retained. Anyone who promotes advertising on the BBC needs their head examined. Ask any Kiwi what happened when TVNZ switched to advert-led funding. Then stand well back.
Neil Hardie, Aberdeen, Scotland
For me the BBC is a great institution that should not be meddled with. Having a licence fee is fine by me if it means that I do not have to be bombarded by the same adverts over and over again. The fact that BBC can be seen on Sky is irrelevant, the programmes still cost money to be produced and therefore have to be funded.
Adrian Church, Halesowen
I am happy for the BBC to keep its status as a public service, but it should be paid for in the fairest way - through income tax. I am very disappointed that a Labour government has chosen to maintain a system that hits the poorest hardest.
The licence fee is vital for the upkeep of UK TV standards and fairly balanced reporting. All those complaining about a perceived BBC left-wing 'bias', compare that to the blatant commercially-caused right-wing bias of the Fox networks. Give me the BBC any day.
If only the other broadcasters were subject to the same levels of examination. I pay more for cable services than I do for the BBC licence fee and the quality of the programming of non BBC channels is significantly poorer than that of the BBC. Quite simply, other than Sky Sports, I think we only need one broadcaster (radio and TV), the BBC.
Mike, Glasgow, UK
Long before 2016 the TV set as we know it will be history. TV will be streamed over cable and broadband when and where we want it, to our computers. The licence will be almost impossible to enforce for a large part of the population. The BBC will have to find an alternative way to get revenue before then. I suggest a tax on all sales of display screens no matter how big or small. This would be a lot easier to collect than detector patrols and prosecutions and means industry would have to pay its fair share not just consumers.
Graham, Hemel Hempstead
No matter what you think, the BBC has already planned to go commercial. Having setup offshore financial vehicles a couple of years ago it plans to use this pot of gold to further its ambitions. What I feel is wrong, is that this money earmarked for future commercial growth has been forcibly donated by us, the British public.
James Oliver, UK
£120 is an outrageous fee for mediocre programming. Just take it off my television and cancel my license fee. I think I can live without Eastenders and snooker. Not being given the choice is pure dictatorship. I would be interested to know how much of that fee money is spent on threatening advertising? One advert states that they have a list of everyone without a license - well if that is so, why are they spending money on advertising the fine instead of just prosecuting? Give us the choice or scrap the fee!
Kat, Beckenham, Kent
I've long given up on watching television and paying a licence free. You can get all the information and entertainment you need from the internet and DVDs. You also don't need a licence to own a TV, only to have it setup to receive a terrestrial signal from within UK. TV for DVD players and games consoles is free however ambiguously the BBC word it!
Iain, Harrogate, England
I think this the time we should scrap the licence fee and stop wasting money on BBC Three and Four on digital. What actually do BBC Three and Four do? They just repeat the programmes shown on BBC One and Two. We heard a lot from government on diversity but on media we don't see a single thing which is harmonising the communities.
For example we only see a programme on BBC re Muslim or Pakistani community which show these communities not doing any good for the country - they are branded as terrorists and uncultured. We need to change this perspective too and bring on board all other communities in the country as well.
A Ghaffar, London, UK
I live without a TV because the whole TV world is far too whacky, too fast, over before you've taken in an interesting scene, exaggerated soaps that only want to grab and keep an audience, repeats, telling us again and again of the same unchanging news items... and that's just the Beeb. Add advertisements to that and it just gets worse. Keep your telly.
Josephine Bennington, UK
It's amazing how many people are on here complaining about having to pay the licence fee because they don't watch the BBC. What do they think pays for this website? Personally I think £120 for eight TV channels, 11 national radio stations and loads more regional stations and one of the best UK websites all without having rubbish ads forced down our throats is a bargain.
The licence fee was fair when the BBC had a monopoly on channels. But now, it's just a way of protecting the BBC from public opinion. I feel the BBC is biased over some issues, and would like to cancel my 'subscription' in protest - but if I do that I will lose the right to view channels independent of the BBC as well! It's just not fair. Make the BBC a subscription service like Sky - many people would still choose to pay, and it would be their democratic choice, not draconian dictatorship.
I would pay £10 a month for BBC 4 alone... The BBC was and still is a fine and unique organization. You would all regret it if was gone.
Luke Carpenter, UK
The idea of splitting the governance of the BBC into a BBC Trust with overseeing responsibilities and an Executive Board who actually run the organisation seems to be a good one. However, there do not appear to be any proposals to open up appointment to the BBC Trust so that it actually represents viewers rather than being yet another quango appointed behind closed doors.
Megan, Cheshire, UK
I have the full Sky package and I watch the BBC 95% of the time. Having lots of channels does not mean quality. Only Sky can make a 30 minute programme last an hour whilst we are forced to watch adverts. Worse still, Sky coordinates the adverts so that you cannot channel-hop as all the channels show adverts at the same time. Sky also increases the volume of the adverts so you know they're on.
Do we want 200+ channels of adverts with a few programmes thrown in every now and then or do we want to watch some decent, stimulating television? I think that the license fee is worth every penny and to switch on to BBC World is so reassuring when travelling around the world. I fear that the government wants us to become like America and have hundreds of channels effectively controlled by advertisers that cannot be criticized or be made accountable for anything - television for profit. Show me a page on the Sky site that criticises Sky television. Enough said.
The BBC is merely a mouth piece for the left wing and the politically correct. It should be funded by the Labour Party and not the general public.
Graham Ridler, Leeds
We do not pay the license fee but receive BBC as part of satellite/cable package. If I could choose I would quite happily pay a monthly fee for the Beeb over anything else available. The web has got to be the best portal on the Internet so says an unashamed fan!
David O'Brien, Dublin, Ireland
An advert free channel is one of the few precious things available on TV these days. The BBC has to remain commercially independent or we can bid farewell to highbrow programming altogether. Just look at US broadcasting to see what could happen without a commercially independent broadcaster.
Robert Phillips, Cardiff, UK
It is not fair that we should be forced to subsidise the BBC just for owning a TV. It is even worse that it is a flat fee, and thus far more taxing on the poorest members of society, for whom it takes a significant percentage of their income.
Kate, London, UK
Kate in London has hit the nail on the head. It's not a television licence, it's a BBC tax. Also, those who believe the BBC would be worse because of advertising has obviously never walked around London or watched between programmes - all you see is BBC advertising.
RC, London, UK
This is just yet another excuse by a disgruntled government to have a go at an easy target. The declining standard in television presentation thanks to digital televisions' obsession with "interaction" means that there are few enough alternatives available, and it seems that a further move away from good television is on the cards.
Chris Johnson, Romford, Essex
I think the BBC is fantastic, admittedly a bit of dumbing-up would be nice; however, what gets to me the most is the constant ads at the end of programmes inviting me to press the red button or turn to BBC Three. I cannot do either. I cannot access Freeview, I do not have cable TV in my area, and I refuse to pay for (even the cheapest) Sky subscription, just to watch channels I already pay for.
Matt, Kent, England
As long as the Archers remain unaffected the BBC and the government can do as they please.
If the licence fee is to remain it should be split equally between all free to air services, whether state owned or independent. The low quality of much BBC output and the lack of balance in its political and news coverage mean that the BBC no longer has any moral right to charge taxes for its sole benefit. Already showpiece natural wildlife and history programmes are financed by foreign sales while Pets Win Prizes style tripe and reality TV drivel (which the BBC cannot even do as well as independent channels) are paid for by the licence fee.
Keeping the licence fee? It's like being forced to buy the Guardian every day under threat of prison.
Alex Swanson, Milton Keynes, UK
Why wait 11 years? The BBC has developed an extreme bias in its reporting which does not represent the views of many forced to pay an unfair tax, the license fee should have been scrapped now.
Jonathan Dear, London
I think programme making not just broadcasting should be considered. A huge percentage of channels on Sky show programmes that were originally made by the BBC including drama and documentaries as well as the ubiquitous makeover shows. Without the licence fee, where would the funding for actually making quality programmes come from? It is fine for people to say they never watch the BBC as long as they also do not watch BBC made/funded programmes.
Mike, London, UK
I think that for the BBC to charge £120 per year is too much. Also it has nothing to do with you ever watching BBC in the first place it is simply an automatic fee for owning a TV. I do not even watch the BBC but choose the channels I want from Sky. In the case of the BBC you pay for it whether you watch it or not. Also how do we get to influence into what we want to watch? They went ahead with broadcasting the Jerry Springer musical despite 50,000 protests! So much for broadcasting what people want to watch!
£1.20 a month for BBC Radio? Bargain! I just wish I could opt out of paying for BBC television which I don't watch at all.
Surely digital technology allows us to opt out of paying and receiving BBC programmes? In any case, why extend the charter by 10 years? Why not two or five?
James Murphy, Dorset, UK
The BBC does provide a good service but the licensing fee requires a serious overhaul. I think the BBC should look at allowing commercials to be shown between programmes but maintaining the uninterrupted broadcasting they are famous for. They already do a load of advertising for their own programmes and alternative channels anyway so this should not be an issue.
The public could then pay a fee of fifty pounds a year which is not so unreasonable. I do not think it is correct that we have to pay nearly one hundred and twenty pounds per year to sustain only a small portion of the available viewing channels and I think it is wrong that such a high fee must be paid even if you don't watch anything on the BBC.
Kiltie, Staffs, UK
I fear the speculative changes to the structure of the BBC is being rushed through without giving time to the new management to apply their skills. Nor am I sure that by abolishing Board of Governors and replacing them with a body with functions of a Trust, will essentially radically change the way BBC reports, except it may introduce some political influence through its back door in the form of trustees.
Something along the lines of: We will never show another make over show of any kind ever again, the person who came up with Fame Academy and Strictly Come Dancing to be sacked with no pension and EastEnders to be taken off the air while laughing gas is added to the water. Well, it'll make it less depressing to watch.
Graham Campbell, Lossiemouth, Scotland
It should say scrap the licence fee in favour of an optional subscription. For a service that is used around the world it seems unfair that we are the only ones forced to pay for it whether we want to or not.
Gavin, Cardiff, Wales
I am quite happy to pay a licence fee for BBC programmes - so long as they don't start with all the reality TV nonsense on more chav channels like ITV, Channel 4 and Channel Five. The BBC is a quality service that is global renowned and it must remain that way.
Philip Pike, Colchester
The licence fee is the best way to keep the unique service that the BBC offers. The choice offered by Sky (sport excepted) is by and large 200+ channels of recycled rubbish. 33p a day? No better value anywhere.
Alan, Blackpool, UK
I would like to know how the BBC justify charging each individual student, either in Halls of Residence or in rented accommodation, the full price of a TV license? I have always thought that one license covered a whole building. This puts already struggling young people in a very difficult position financially.
Especially in the first few months the television is the only entertainment they have before they get to know people. In some cases keeping up to date with world happenings may be an integral part of their course.
Mrs A Jones, Stone, UK
I think the TV licence is a thing of the past. It is a relic of times where there was no choice for the consumer, no internet, no satellite and cable TV. I would guess that a large percentage of the population now either has Sky or Cable TV. Why charge a licence fee on top of that?
In my opinion the BBC and other public broadcast channels should be paid by the larger cable providers and through commercials. The BBC is not good enough to warrant £121 per year on top of what I pay for Sky. It should be a consumer's choice. Why pay for a licence just because I have a TV - I never even watch BBC.
Andreas Gschwari, Edinburgh
As much as I value the BBC for its great coverage and dramas, I do feel a bit conned. I pay for Sky monthly already. I don't watch the endless BBC channels which are only available to digital viewers and I only listen to BBC 1 and no other BBC radio stations, digital, specialist or otherwise. Why do I need to pay for a licence for services I don't use? You get fined if you don't pay it, its not like there's a choice is there?
I want to see the licence fee scrapped. Once TV goes digital it'll be possible to switch to a subscription model for everyone, BBC included. We don't have public service printing paid for by a levy on reading, so why should we have public service broadcasting paid for by a tax on viewing?
Dave Moran, Aberdeen, Scotland
The Green Paper should re-iterate the BBC's absolute independence from all kinds of political interference.
Ellie, Edinburgh, UK
I do not think the licence fee should be extended because the quality of BBC programmes is of poor quality and dull. It's about time they made the BBC commercialised and stop ripping off the British public.
I do not see why the public should have to pay the BBC a license fee for the right to own a TV. I would not mind paying a subscription to various channels that I wanted to watch, however I think the idea of the BBC exerting that much control is almost communist in nature. As a result, I refuse to own a TV!