Should the BBC increase the licence fee to improve its digital services?
The BBC is to present a bid to increase the licence fee by 2.3% above inflation to a House of Commons select committee in order to fund the switch-over to digital TV and on-demand services.
If accepted, the licence fee would rise from £3.14 per year from £126.50 to £150.50 by 2013.
Is the BBC good value for money? Should the licence fee fund digital services? Or should other ways of funding be found? Should the licence fee be scrapped? If so, what should replace it?
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 don't actually watch TV, except for the occasional Grand Prix. Our TV is used primarily as a games and DVD monitor. However, I do enjoy this website and the national BBC Radio stations. I therefore enormously resent having to pay a TV license fee at all, let alone with a huge increase. I would however be quite willing to support the radio and website with a cheaper license. Time for a total rethink of the license, and greater flexibility responding to the way people actually use the BBC.
A. Taylor, Loughborough, UK
The comparisons with Sky do not make sense. Sky is a choice. I do not earn very much money, and I do not watch a huge amount of television, so I choose not to have Sky. But just in order to have a television, I have to fund the BBC. Why? If it was a subscription channel, I would happily make the decision as to whether or not it was worth the money. If you're so confident it's value for money, then why not give people the option to subscribe or not? If you're right, then people will all subscribe, so it won't matter.
Maria Carmone, Cardiff, UK
Yes, the Beeb is good value for money, but still has too much inane rubbish and repeats for my liking. It should stick to what it does best - natural history, drama, documentary and news, for example - and leave the rubbish for the other channels. Oh, and please stop trailing everything so much - drives me mad and is a waste of money.
No! The government and the broadcasters decided to switch to digital because it was less expensive to operate than the analogue system. So why now do we have to pay a higher licence fee for an inferior service, i.e. pixilation, etc.?
Kieron, London, England
Why haven't they scrapped this ridiculous 'tax' on people for watching television? I avoid terrestrial channels wherever I can due to their poor quality and constant money-grubbing from viewers. I also discovered that the BBC abroad is showing adverts and obviously making money from them - why am I paying a fee when the BBC is making money from adverts?!
Paul Charters, Sutton, UK
In most areas of rural Scotland it is not possible to receive the full range of terrestrial channels available elsewhere in the rest of Britain, nor can we receive Freeview channels -in spite of this, we pay the same licence fee as everyone else - I would however support an increase, provided that the broadcasters could guarantee universal coverage -there does need to be a choice of television entertainment that could not be directly supported by advertising, e.g. programmes important for educational purposes, and not just relying on popular dumbed-down programme output, and it is difficult to see how such things could be funded other than by universal levy as at present - it would be unfair to substitute a system based on income tax which would unfairly target the PAYE wage earners in our society.
Dr John Moore, Dumfries, Scotland
So we have to subsidise for BBC services on digital TV that we may never see, unless we pay again. That is plain theft if you ask me, why should we pay for their digital services? The money they get from them should service its own product.
Why should I have to pay for the commercial channels that I don't watch in the increased prices I have to pay in the shops? If I didn't have a TV, I wouldn't need a licence and wouldn't be paying for the BBC, but I'd still be paying for ITV and I resent that most strongly.
Pete B, Thatcham, UK
Children In Need? More like Aunty Beeb In Need! For what we already pay for it's extremely bad programme content on all BBC channels and personally, I cannot see that this proposed rise in the license fee will help matters any. Time to go commercial guys before the proverbial brown stuff strikes the rapidly whirling circular object, if you know what I mean.
Phil Jameson, Luton, England
Sky have just slapped a further 10% increase on my subscription - without even having the decency to inform me, yet again. In order to access the sports coverage - which is generally is of a very high quality - I have to purchase at least £180 per year's worth of garbage, now called "Entertainment Mixes" and the whole lot has advertisements, despite being a subscription service. Having experienced that lot, I say if BBC wants to double the licence fee then let it do so - with accountability. It's amazingly good value for money - and no adverts!
Peter Allen, Downham Market, UK
The BBC should live in the real world where we can't just increase prices to maintain what we think are our rightful standards of living. I've not been able to increase my charges in my business for the last 10 years!
Mr Stein, Shipley
For all the quality that comes from the BBC, whether it's TV or radio, I would gladly pay 50 pence per week. I admit that the BBC does produce dross but in lesser quantities that any other broadcaster, and those other broadcasters charge me more and continually interrupt my viewing with mind numbingly boring advertising. Even with the proposed increases the BBC is incredible value
Mark Earl, Edinburgh, Scotland
I have no access to terrestrial services, I don't plan on getting cable, Sky or Freeview, and my TV is only used to watch DVDs. So why should I have to pay an extra £130-odd for something I don't and won't ever use, on top of the price of DVDs. The BBC needs to get their act together. The license fee should be paid only by those who actually watch the channels.
Thomas Alexander, Edinburgh, Scotland
Yes increase the licence fee as long as you continue to make quality programmes and keep advertising off.
Thomas Latcham, Erith, England
Of passing interest but as so many comments here refer to the BBC website I wonder if anyone could remind me how it is that the BBC runs a website in the first place let alone this multi-million pound extravaganza. I've searched the BBC's 'Royal Charter', the 'Agreement' and the 'Amendment to the Agreement' for words like 'internet' and 'website' and even bbc.co.uk and drawn a complete blank. I can understand the Corporation funding a website that is a companion to the programming - a sort of electronic Radio Times - as a convenience to viewers but why has it usurped the role of an online newspaper? Surely, if it's strapped for cash, scrapping this irrelevance would be the first place to start. It's not as if it's providing a service that isn't more than adequately met by innumerable other providers worldwide. If I want to be informed about UK news I only have to visit one of half a dozen sites published by UK newspapers and if, for instance, it's events in the USA that concern me then I naturally turn to a US source. Why would I want to rely on the output of journalists employed by an organisation several thousand miles away when I can get it from the man on the spot? The little I've read of their scribblings seems to relate to a country I have trouble in recognising compared with the one I know so well.
Pete J, London, England
Who's kidding who here? The fact is that we will have this increase rammed down our throats whether we like it or not. As the BBC is virtually owned by the government, and its 'official' political voice, it's yet another way for the Blair and Brown Club to raise more taxes! Those with plenty of money will never see anything wrong with rises because they can afford them.
Ken Thompson, UK
If the alternative is a watered down BBC, or worse, no Beeb at all I'd happily pay double. I know it's essentially an unfair tax, but I really don't care. It's worth the money for a service I actually trust. You can't put a price on that.
Stephen Oldroyd, Darlington
I subscribe to Sky and I am very happy with the vast range of channels available to me, and not all of the channels are plagued with advertising breaks. I can honestly state that only a small percentage of my viewing time is spent watching the BBC. If I were given the choice then I would cancel my subscription to this service as it is not value for money. I believe that we should all be given this choice, in fact I think we should now insist upon it.
It's about time that the government's hold on the BBC was broken. As long as it's a government mouthpiece, we will be subjected to this stealth tax dressed up as a licence fee. Let the BBC be funded by adverts or part of it anyway, and stop the obscene bonuses and salaries to the top "Executives" who do little more than delegate anyway.
Thomas Lowry, Leeds, UK
I pay for private healthcare, but I still have to fund the NHS. The NHS is there for me in emergencies - just like the BBC. For those complaining about the license fee, how is this any different from having Sky but paying for the BBC too? Just by having private healthcare I'm not excluded from paying taxes. The NHS benefits the whole of society even if you as an individual do not use it, and the BBC is exactly the same.
We've lost the 9 'o' clock news and now cricket has gone to Sky. Not much point in the television now. So, I've got rid of it and saved myself the licence fee all together. Try it. It's not that much of a miss.
Jon Hill, Cramlington, Northumberland
The licence as it is, is not acceptable as it does not reflect in the quality of programmes we are offered. I barely watch BBC channels anymore. C4 has better news, better documentaries and much better choice of sensible programmes. A lot of the junk on BBC1 these days is the sort of rubbish I expect to see on ITV, not what should be the best station in the country. The BBC should give us good sensible intelligent programmes, not mindless idiotic entertainments like games shows or reality TV.
Steve, Aberdeen, Scotland
£150.50 by 2013. Seems like incredibly good value to me. You'd think that Sky et al was free! What about BBC radio? It is, in my opinion, the best in the world. Do you get this standard of radio broadcasting by Rupert M? I don't think so! I think the licence fee is an extremely fair way of paying for high standard broadcasting.
Steve Thomas, London, UK
As an expat I would gladly pay a fee to the BBC for internet access to BBC programming. The Beeb could make a fortune by making programming downloadable, imagine being able to view not only the latest programming but also old favourites. I suspect if they took such a commercial route their revenue would increase substantially, removing the need for future increases in license fees. I know this would make me happy, and I suspect it would please a large audience - expats aren't the only people who enjoy the fruits of the Beeb.
The BBC website has a serious "free rider" problem. The site is supported completely by UK taxpayers but its services are enjoyed free of charge by anyone in the world with access to a computer. Perhaps you should start charging!
Jonathan Freerider, Baltimore, MD, USA
The present license fee system is ostensibly a tax for the following reason: UK residents are compelled to contribute to a central "pot" for the benefit of others in the community (regardless of whether they themselves benefit from whatever is being paid for). Therefore, this could only be justified (in the way that taxes are justified) if the service could be shown to provide a necessary benefit to the whole community (as in the case of refuse-collection, water and sewerage treatment, etc). However, it cannot be justified in this way because there is no necessity about any of the benefits that BBC confers upon the nation.
Alan Colquhoun, Livingston, Scotland
I think the licence fee is the best possible way to fund the BBC, but I think it should trim down to a few core channels - BBC1, BBC2, News 24, CBeebies on television for instance; and Radios 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and World Service, and spend the cash it has on keeping the quality of those as high as possible. At the moment it's in danger of spreading itself too thin, and arguably, if an entertainment programme's not good enough to be on BBC1 or 2, why are we paying for it? Also I think it's hard to justify upping the costs while contemplating a big expensive move to Manchester. And I may have got this wrong but the whole digital switch-over thing is a government policy - it's politics - why is the BBC paying for it?
Why should I have to pay for a service that most, non UK fee payers can receive for nothing? This website, with its free radio repeats, most of the BBC sell offs on subscription TV, ie UK Style, UK Living etc, BBC World Service, all are freely available to people outside of the UK. Couldn't we have TV's that don't receive BBC so we don't have to pay for the licence fee.
Paul Lowes, Billingham, Cleveland
I think it is absolutely ridiculous that we pay a fee in the first place. All other channels on TV (digital included) are sponsored through advertising, etc and they manage just fine (they also have better, more interesting programmes). Why can't the BBC do the same? I am sick of paying for something I don't use - this is because the programmes are either boring, rubbish or repeats. Scrap the TV licence altogether!
Jo Beer, Bristol
I'm a great supporter and admirer of BBC. As a SKY subscriber I fully appreciate what amazing value the licence fee is. With an ever increasing array of sub-standard, trashy TV Channels; the BBC remains a bastion of quality against the encroachment of trivia and mediocrity. I'd gladly pay double the license fee as an insurance and protection policy alone - though BBC1 needs to "upgrade" too.
Jamie May, Ticehurst, East Sussex
I believe the BBC need to invest their current revenue in providing consumers with quality TV and not letting the individuals that do not have digital TV, pay for that as well. I do believe that the licence fee should be scrapped as Londoners spend too much money as it is on congestion charges, travel, food, council tax etc the list is endless. There should be other ways of funding that the BBC could accumulate like decreasing the executives and directors salaries. That would definitely make me feel better at least.
Monisha, East London
When you only have around £10 left a week after accommodation, heating and travel fares, the TV licence is an unwelcome burden. The fact that my money then also goes to pay for digital services really irks. As for those who think the BBC is worth it - they should try living on a low income for a while before presuming this rise won't make any difference.
Mature Student, North West, UK
I think that £200 a year is good value for an independent, impartial news service alone, regardless of other BBC services. If every day you buy a chocolate bar, or even one of the newspapers which constantly get so exercised over this issue, you'll find you're paying a lot more over the course of a year. The BBC performs services I don't see being covered by the likes of Sky or even Channel Four. If you have digital or cable, you can see for yourself what cheap TV stations look like.
John Gammon, Brighton, UK
I don't watch the BBC much, or indeed the television, but I don't begrudge one penny of the licence fee. It is a small price to pay for the existence of a news and entertainments organisation that is not the mouthpiece of a commercial organisation and that holds back the tide of all-pervasive advertising. The BBC should not be privatised because it provides a public service, and at a reasonable cost at that.
Katherine, London, UK
Don't people realise that they pay for commercial channels when they buy products or services that advertise on television? The difference with the BBC is that all the money goes straight into programme making rather than being skimmed by companies for profit, before they put a little of what's left into their advertising budgets. Programmes don't make themselves, you pay for them one way or another. The BBC just gives you value for money, that's all.
Daniel Owens, Manchester, UK
Mumble, groan and whinge. People seem to forget that in life you pay for a lot things you don't use. Are you paying for both Sky Sports and movies? Can you watch the game and the movie at the same time? There are far more pressing (and more expensive) issues to trouble us than giving up a chocolate bar each day to fund the BBC.
David, Durham, UK
The BBC is a world class national asset. Go to Australia or America if you want to see what TV looks like without a license fee and then come home and eat your words! Shame on the whingers who begrudge paying anything however little, but would subject us all to far more adverts and low-quality junk.
BBC News 24, BBC Four, BBC Parliament and www.bbc.co.uk each provide high quality content that no privatised broadcaster can match. But I fail to see the difference between BBC One/Two/Three and other entertainment channels. Therefore, I feel that the cost of the switch-over to digital TV should be funded by privatising BBC One, Two and Three.
Jeroen Keppens, Aberystwyth, UK
Supply and demand - if somebody wants BBC, they can pay for it, if not, then they don't have to. TV is a luxury, so whoever provides it can charge what they like. If a TV can be shown not to be capable of receiving BBC, then no licence fee has to be paid.
Peter, Banbury, UK
The license fee is very good value for money. It currently costs 35p a day, the same as a chocolate bar or packet of crisps. One colour license allows viewing on several TVs in the home, which can be viewed by as many people as you can get in front of your TV. For this cost the BBC provides excellent news and weather information, documentaries, soap operas, children's programmes, popular entertainment, dramas, educational/open university programmes to name but a few. On top of that are the BBC radio services, website, digital/freeview channels and digital radio stations. I like the fact that programmes are not interrupted for adverts, the quality of programmes (although daytime TV is poor), and the range of TV programmes available to viewers. I'm happy to pay for this excellent service.
Justine, Surrey, UK
The license fee could be a fair system, but only if all BBC service users, not simply television viewers, were to be charged proportionately for the services they receive. For instance, why should BBC Radio be subsidised by TV viewers? If such services are to the public benefit then why not have all the public paying for them, never mind asking those who already pay disproportionately to pay yet more!
Michael Lakey, Newcastle
Let's all pay for BBC 3 that broadcasts for 10 minutes a day. Oh, and BBC 4. Don't forget we all love Eastenders, and we are happy to pay for the lack of any cricket.
Gavin Murray, Leeds
With digital TV it should be possible to offer a choice: Pay the licence fee for ad free viewing or allow a separate company to pay the licence for you and provide advertising. Voila! The BBC operates in exactly the same way and those who choose not to pay would no longer have to.
Martin C, London UK
I think the BBC needs to invest in more quality programming as in the current age of digital TV, I find that I am watching less and less programmes shown on the BBC. Why should we be forced to fund a service not everyone takes up? Why is it only the BBC that benefit from the licence fee?
Dal Andrews, Southampton, UK
Having to buy a licence is equivalent to being made to buy The Times because I want to read The Telegraph
Please can we have a bit of perspective here? We are looking at a rise of around £3.14 per year. That's less than a penny a day. It's hardly going to break the bank, even for those on the lowest incomes. As far as I can see we get excellent broadcasting, both on radio and TV, as well as a top-notch web resource. I think the fee is definitely worth paying.
Tristan, Guildford, UK
No doubt, the BBC offers some very good programmes. I support the idea of it going digital, but not at the expense of the already overburdened tax payers. I suggest that the BBC find alternative ways to fund their switch to digital TV. Also, I propose the scrapping of the TV licence once they go digital. If they are providing a great service, they should have no problems selling their services on digital, satellite or cable, like all the other channels. If we are forcing Royal Mail to compete in an open market, why can't BBC do the same!
Taff Gidi, Stoke-on-trent
Radio 4 is worth the licence fee on its own; but it is going to be increasingly difficult to justify what is in effect a highly regressive poll tax now that there is so much non-BBC choice.
Richard Sigrist, Plymouth UK
Why do people need a licence to play videos, DVDs and console games using their TV? This has nothing to do with the BBC. The justification for the licence fee is outdated and it needs to be ditched!
One advantage of digital technology is the ability to control who sees what. Why should people who may never watch a BBC channel be forced to fund them simply because they own a TV? Imagine if you had to pay a train fair to your work even if you always used the bus or drive.
Richard C, Kent, UK
I would be quite happy to pay for what I view as it would only cost me around 50 pence per week to watch the programmes that aren't rubbish.
Dave, Bury UK
Continue funding BBC radio with a much reduced licence fee and privatise the lacklustre TV section.
Kathryn Caine, Northwood, England
I think the quality of BBC programmes has greatly improved these last few years. However, I don't see why I should have to pay for services I don't use. I'd prefer to pay, for example, £70 for TV license, an extra £30 because I get the digital channels on cable, and a subscription for the online services - e.g. £20 per year for any and all BBC online services. An approach like this would make the license fee fairer - I hardly use BBC online things and if I chose not to pay I could still get the news from, for example, Yahoo or MSN.
Matthew Morley, Bradford, UK
No. The BBC could start allowing advertising. The CBC in Canada does and there are no complaints there. The BBC could also have pledge drives twice a year to raise funds for programming as PBS does in the United States. There are so many alternatives to a TV licence. I think it is unfair I am being made to pay for the BBC when I seldom watch it. If the government's plan is to switch over to digital signals then perhaps the BBC should then become Top-Up TV Channels. We will then have a choice if we want the channels or not.
Scott, Sheffield, UK
My main thought is that we don't have a choice; we have to have a TV license. Would be nice to see if we had a choice to opt out of having BBC and just pay for what we want.
Glenn Homer, Tiverton
The BBC has the best news in the world (including this website), the best radio in the world, the best telly in the world, and the best website in the world. Sky costs me £30 a month, and for the privilege I get my shows interrupted every seven to ten minutes for an ad break. The BBC costs me £10 a month, and look at what you get! The news website and Doctor Who alone are worth the license fee!
The BBC is entirely justified in raising the license fee in the way it proposes assuming it stays in its current, commercial free state. The BBC is terrific value for money as a Radio, internet and TV package. Keep it up BBC.
Pay per view. Simple. You watch Top Gear, you pay for that episode. I would rather pay £1 for a 30min show once in a while when I'm bored than be forced into paying for things I don't watch.
I find it amazing that people are ready to moan about the 'expense' of the licence fee but are more than happy to pay a satellite/cable TV subscription at a similar cost.
I have lived in the UK for 17 years now, and recently I have been in a position to watch both Dutch and British television. There is no comparison in quality, the BBC makes so many incredibly good programmes. Let's not forget that it caters for a very large public, and that what one person finds great, another person hates. On top of that, the BBC websites are a fantastic resource, also for my children when they do their homework. Are we suggesting that these services should be 'privatised', like the railways etc? That would make them expensive, less objective and unaffordable for lots of people. The BBC is one British institution you can be brought of!
Johan Turkenburg, York, UK
We should be given the choice to opt out of watching BBC and therefore not pay any fee. If we want the service we pay for it, and if not then we do not. Then let's see how many viewers stay with the BBC. Enough is enough!
Jenny Stiller, Faversham, Kent
I resent the increasing left wing, politically correct and anti-American bias which pervades BBC current affairs coverage; and it is wrong that anyone who wants to watch the output of other broadcasters should be forced to pay for it. Digital broadcasting offers the ability to fund terrestrial TV on a pay-per-view basis, which was not available when the licence fee was first introduced. The principal justification for the licence fee no longer exists. It's time to scrap the licence fee and replace it with a Public Broadcasting Fund, paid for out of direct taxation and administered by an independent commission. This would award contracts for non-commercial programmes deemed to be culturally important.
Leo, York, UK
I think it's wonderful that you - the BBC - are reporting with such punctilious objectivity, via a digital service - the BBC website - our reluctance to pay you - the BBC - what you need to roll out more digital services such as the website! I think the license fee is a great way to fund a great service and I hope you get the extra cash - if only so that we can continue to quibble about it on your (our?) website.
Angus Macdonald, Strasbourg, France
I don't want to have to pay for digital upgrades, or podcasts or any other 'new way' of 'accessing content'. I'm happy with my analogue set up and resent having to fund anything else. Would anyone have switched to digital without the fake incentives and endless advertising?
Robert Day, Billingham UK
If the BBC broadcasts on the internet, how will they ensure that foreign (non licence paying) viewers can't watch, as currently happens with the existing content?
Robert Lawson, London
Before they increase the licence fee the quality of the service provided should be questioned. Prime time television on Saturday night. A good film? A decent drama? No Anne Robinson and Phillip Schofield with another space filling cheap and cheerful monster quiz. What happened to proper entertainment involving sets and actors?
Tim, Bradford West Yorkshire
I am disgusted by the TV licence increase. I own a 17" TV that costs about £100. Justify to me why I should pay £200 for a TV licence. I am going to invest in a computer and by DVD's to watch then I'll throw away my TV or maybe give to the BBC!
I watch TV maybe once or twice a week for a couple of hours in the evening and those channels watched do not always include the BBC and yet, I have to pay the BBC to watch the other channels? How does that work? On the other hand I will be happy to pay all the increases as long as The Mighty Boosh is running!
James English, Hastings, UK
I don't mind paying a bit more for my TV licence, as I like the BBC programmes. What I like is the fact that there are no adverts on BBC1 or BB2. It drives me nuts seeing adverts every 10 minutes on ITV, Channel 4 & Channel 5! Bring on more documentaries, and less soaps/game shows. Paying NOT to see adverts suits me fine, providing the fee is not excessive.
Nick, London, UK
I think the licence fee should be scrapped, and let the revenue be raised by advertising. The BBC is already running adverts in the form of trailers for other programmes, which is fantastically annoying. And secondly, most other countries think it's a very strange law that requires you to have a licence to watch TV!
Jim Brimble, Sutton, UK
I think the UK TV licence fee increase is acceptable to the millions of us who watch BBC programmes overseas. In Australia, as in most countries, there is no TV licence fee but we get a lot of BBC programmes and they are very good. A big thank you to the UK TV Licence fee payers.
N Miles, Sydney, Australia
Definitely not. They should be made to compete in the open market like ITV. I'm getting more and more disillusioned by the crap churned out by all the TV companies. In fact I feel inclined to throw my TV on a skip with the rest of the rubbish.
Everything in this country has now become so expensive that only the well off will be able to enjoy what is left. If the people at the top of the beeb weren't paid such a huge amount then we could have decent TV programmes without the threat of an annual rise. I think presenters are paid far too much compared to the amount of work they do.
No, the BBC should be made self funding like all the other broadcasters, why do we have to pay for the service? It may have been ok in the days when it was in it's infancy but not now. The licence should be scrapped and the BBC made more accountable, it's almost like a government dept, wasting taxpayers money.
Chris Waldren, Camberley, Surrey
Happy to pay provided Auntie breaks the broadcasting Unions and ends the old Spanish practices which add to the cost of the fee.
There is no equivalent to BBC, they set a standard and the fact is other competitors are now up to the standard. This is why we think BBC has fallen.
The BBC is good value for money given the breadth of service that it provides. A major new source of expenditure is the internet provision and if the BBC requires extra money to get podcasts, TV-over-internet and such off the ground then fair enough. I would resent it if the money is spent launching another needless TV channel.
Matt S, York, UK
Maybe I should not criticise the beeb too much as this is their web space. If you watched ITV back to back for one year £116 would seem like a bargain for the BBC! I do think the price is a little excessive but the quality of programmes is generally excellent (bar that Davina McCool programme on a Saturday). Whatever fee you signed Graham Norton up for, it was the biggest waste of our money that the BBC ever spent. Sorry!
Bring all BBC on to digital, and then restrict access to only those willing to pay the fee. At what will be £15 a month or more, it hardly represents value. I am sure that if anyone owning a TV had the choice to pay for BBC or not have access, they would choose not to have access.
Simon Womack, London
Stop paying staff so much money and spend the licence fee on better programmes if they don't like it tell them to get another job. Most people don't get paid anywhere near Wogan. I still think BBC is still the best.
Ian Geddes, Elgin, Moray
I am happy to pay the licence fee on the basis of BBC news alone. Having seen the spineless drivel that the private US companies put out as 'news' I shudder to think of the UK following the same path.
I would be interested in watching a selected few programmes each week but it's unfair that I should pay the same as someone who sits in front of the TV all evening, every night. For this reason I don't have a TV and I can happily live without one until the BBC ditches its outdated pricing model and adopts something fair, like pay per view.
I am not going to buy a TV. I will simply buy DVD and internet content and watch it on a PC system. I'd urge others to do the same. Forcing people to pay for something on the basis they may be using it is immoral. Moreover, scrapping the BBC would improve the quality of private broadcasters due to the decreased competition. All the best TV is from America and is privately funded.
David Buttar, Paisley
I'm quite happy with the licence fee, and the only channels I watch are BBC ones as I just cannot be doing with adverts.
Nell, Tring, Herts
I think people wouldn't mind the rise quite so much if the quality of BBC television output wasn't so poor these days. It's all very well having a choice of BBC channels - but when you turn on BBC3 and see yet another repeat of Little Britain, you start to wonder where the money is going. The Beeb needs to become more streamlined whilst increasing the quality in its output. This is how the rest of the countries workforce has to operate - why does the BBC see itself so differently?
I'm living in Japan and I really miss good quality TV. Commercial TV here is constantly being stopped for adverts interrupting storylines, and even keep you waiting just for the credits at the end of a show. The BBC is great, and can create shows which aren't just for the mainstream. That's why I would happily pay for the BBC via the net and watch it.
Scott Wallace, UK/Japan
Television is not an essential service like power and water. If you can't afford the increase then kick the habit, sell your television and spend the proceeds plus the annual fee on something more enjoyable.
It is very difficult to imagine how one could get better value for three pounds a week. The people who complain about the licence fee should feel lucky that the BBC channels have not been sold off to a private company - which will charge a subscription and fill the screen with mindless advertising.
John, Stockport, UK
Technology is evolving at a pace such that pay-per-view on a micro level should be possible once the digital switch-over is complete. So let's pay for what we watch - 30p per episode of Eastenders, 50p for Top Gear, £1 for the FA Cup final etc. This should help ensure a halt in the decline of the BBC's output quality.
James Rigby, Wickford, Essex
I think the BBC is a fantastic institution however it must now be time for the BBC to move fully into the digital age and make this a subscription channel so people have the option to watch it/pay for it or not.
Graham Watt, Tillynaught, Scotland
I would prefer to have the BBC stripped down - one or two channels with documentaries and news etc. We do not need so many BBC channels, across the radio and television divides. We should have a much smaller corporation with a much smaller licence fee.
I like and watch the BBC. However, I hate the BBC adverts for programs and services between programmes. Why not let professional advertisers buy the time off the BBC to either supplement or scrap the licence altogether? Just how many times do we need reminding about some program that will be screened sometimes a month in advance?
Ian Ward, Wirral
I have enough trouble paying the bills I have at the moment, and I am on a weekly scheme to pay my TV licence. I cannot afford a price rise from the BBC, it is bad enough trying to find the extra money for the yearly council tax rise as my wages do not get increased every year. What will people like me do?
Helen, Leasowe, Wirral
Were the BBC to use licence fee money to commission more original programmes, I'd be for an increase. I am happy to pay a licence fee, but I object to money being spent commissioning programmes from external program makers.
Martin, London, UK
I for one will be happy to pay my licence fee for it provides channels that enable me to watch more than six minutes of a programme before I am bombarded with advertisements. The BBC is an oasis in a minefield of advertising.
I think it's disgusting that licence fee money is spent by the BBC on creating new digital channels and the best new programmes are screened on digital only. What are terrestrial TV users paying for? Often the terrestrial BBC channels are full of repeats of pre-digital programmes. I dislike paying my licence fee to fund programmes I have no chance of watching as I cannot receive a digital signal.
Lesley, London, UK
Has anyone actually seen TV abroad where there is no licence fee? I am happy (for once) with what I pay for. Most people who complain about the licence fee are happy to pay for Sky. Sorry to break this to you, there is no such thing as free TV.
Zach Rathore, Manchester
Some of us are unable to receive the new BBC channels which are constantly trailed. There are apparently no plans to bring digital services to the Channel Islands. Why should we be forced to pay as much as everyone else for an incomplete service? I remember being told that the move from 405 lines to 625 would mean an end to co-channel interference, all those years ago. It didn't! We still lose picture or sound in certain conditions. An increase on the licence fee seems particularly unfair on us and others in areas which are experiencing the same less than perfect service.
David Taylor, Jersey
The quality of the BBC's programming is decreasing. In order to deal with the challenge of a proliferation of channels the BBC has decided to just produce more (not better) programmes. That way they will attempt to maintain audience share and so can justify their own existence. I was forced to watch News 24 on a wet holiday and found the quality appalling. The BBC should compete by concentrating on two channels, radio and the great website.
These days people have become consumers of everything and will only pay for what benefits them. The BBC entertains, informs and educates the entire nation and to all our benefit. Do not let it be reduced to the commercial rubbish you see on other channels. Also, those who claim they should not pay because they do not use BBC services, how exactly did they stumble on this debate to make such a comment?
I have no problem paying for the BBC - its a unique public service and Britain would be poorer without it. I object to paying for BBC programming twice, though. The entire historic output of the BBC should be free to Brits on the Internet. If the BBC can sell programmes abroad then all to the good - if it means a cheaper licence fee for US!
Don Hughes, Basingstoke UK
The BBC is fantastic value. I only wish our PBS (public broadcasting service) offered the same quality and price as does your BBC.
Why oh why can't the BBC be paid out of central government taxes. Then it would be paid through our ability to spend/pay. The argument that it would be under government control does not wash, as it is the government that sets the License Fee.
John Graham, Edinburgh, Scotland
The BBC and the Government should consider fairer ways to fund the BBC. I myself rarely, if ever, watch the BBC, but I am a heavy user of the BBC News corner of the web. Maybe the BBC should consider using something like Sky as a model to charge customers for a base service, say BBC's 1 & 2 and radio, then bill for site usage and the additional digital channels in addition to this.
If it keeps the BBC doing the excellent work they do then I'll cheerfully pay up.
LouisC, Sandwich, UK
No the licence fee should not be increased. It should be abolished. Failing that, there is no need to venture into territory that is more than adequately covered by commercial television companies. They should be putting all their money into making quality programs for BBC 1 & 2 only. There's no need for BBC News 24 & the like.
It's about time this outdated fee was scrapped, and make the BBC earn its revenue the same way all of the other television companies do - by advertisements. An increase to the licence fee would not be welcomed by the public, who have to shell out for their digital television to other companies. It's about time the BBC learned to stand on its own two feet, without the reliance of public money.
Bill Taylor, Bangor, Northern Ireland
The BBC does represent excellent value for money. However, I find it hard to understand why some programmes are screened on digital TV first as this forces people to pay a premium for the box to receive programs they have sponsored anyway. Bizarre.
John, Sheffield, UK
If the programmes are going to improve then I would be quite happy to pay more.
Sue, Halesowen, UK
The BBC is a great service but TV licences are becoming too expensive for many people to justify owning a TV. A more sensible solution would be a subscription fee for premium digital based services.
No definitely not, the output is shoddy, lazy and unimaginative at best. We should be entitled to a reduction for "Star Spell" on its own, what utter dross! I pay 5 times as much for Sky but it provides 100 times the value (and I have a choice as to whether I purchase it!).
Andrew, Dorking, UK
My 8 year old son is blind and I feel that the TV companies are doing very little for him. How much of TV is Audio described in comparison to the amount which gets subtitled? Then how much of the miniscule Audio Described output is actually aimed at children.
When council taxes go up, people are outraged because we are continually paying more for less services etc. In a world where paying more for less is currently the norm, I guess at least you can say with the BBC, at least we are getting more than we used to.
Paul Sealey, Cannock, England
You're kidding! What about using the savings from not keeping the analogue services? Or if it's a cash flow problem, when the savings do come the fee should be pegged at £150 for a number of years to catch up on this stealth tax. By the way, I'm not against the licence fee - rather I'm sceptical about the way the BBC uses our money. It's a conundrum - because the BBC do a good broadcasting job but costs shouldn't spiral.
D Ball, Wokingham, UK
Of course the BBC is excellent value for money. You only need watch a typical week of BBC programming to appreciate the continuing quality of BBC output, compared to the commercial broadcasters.
Ian, Leeds, England
No the fee shouldn't be increased - it should be scrapped. We already pay for our digital TV and the BBC has consistently produced rubbish over the last few years that it is nothing but an extra tax on the people and a waste of money. None of the programs I watch are on the BBC and I don't see why I should have to pay them for the watching my television when I already pay for Sky digital - which provides better news, entertainment and choice. Licence fees should be scrapped altogether - it is not worth the money paid.
I predict the usual round of moaning from those who want something for nothing - including, presumably, this website. Leaving aside arguments of what value for money the licence fee may be, I don't find comparisons with the overall rate of inflation to be helpful. A much better comparison would be with other broadcasters. How much have satellite TV costs gone up? How much of what I pay for goods and services goes to pay for advertising on commercial TV, and how are these costs changing? Tell us that, and it might, I suspect, show that the licence fee rise is small compared to the alternatives.
Jon, Huddersfield UK
We cannot go on with everything rising in price - except our salaries. Petrol, Council Tax, Gas, Electric to name a few have all risen astronomically. We are being forced to cough up for set top boxes we never asked for, and now this! Digital is fine if you have a choice - where is the choice not to have it / pay for it.
Tony Humphreys, Prestatyn, UK
How about scraping it? We are fed up with being taxed for everything we do in life!
Robert Kerr, Glasgow
While the BBC may have dumbed down it still hasn't reached the depths of commercial television. An increased licence fee will still offer excellent value for money and is a small price to pay for advertisement free viewing.
The licence fee should be scrapped and either direct funding from government or advertising brought in fund BBC.