Every EU citizen could have access to the BBC without having to pay the license fee under plans being considered by Brussels. According to the Daily Express European bureaucrats are planning to allow Brits on holiday to be able to watch catch up services, but this will mean anyone in the EU can access the service.
Programmes like Eastenders are currently covered by a “geo-blocked” system, meaning access is restricted depending on where you live. Very little can therefore be accessed outside of the UK.
Nick Fitzgerald, CEO of TV2U, said: “Currently, it’s easy to block users outside the UK from accessing an online video service like iPlayer based on their location. However, as the BBC is looking to extend access across Europe, this means of restricting usage will no longer suffice.
“In theory, should this happen, any user would be able to access iPlayer content, regardless of whether they’re a UK citizen or not.”
He added: “To counteract this, technology now exists that makes it possible for online video on demand services such as iPlayer to identify exactly when and where a device is accessing content, and to establish whether or not they are watching it lawfully.
“If they’re breaking the law, it’s possible to cut that connection immediately.”
The move is part of the EU’s digital free market initiative, that officially aims to create a more open market for broadcasters across the EU. The BBC already takes programmes paid by the British license fee payer and markets them across the world, but at present it makes a profit form them and puts the money back into the corporation.
In a statement the European Commission said: “The Commission wants to ensure that users who buy films, music or articles at home can also enjoy them while travelling across Europe.”