Tag Archives: blame

No, Musk, don’t blame Bitcoin for dirty energy — The problem lies deeper

Elon Musk is definitely interested in digital currency

Elon Musk is definitely interested in digital currency, but it seems that he doesn’t want to understand it. At least, I worry that he doesn’t have a deep enough understanding of Bitcoin (BTC) and decentralized systems in general.

A decentralized system has to be secure, and proof-of-work (PoW) is the solution for Bitcoin to secure its digital asset. The more successful Bitcoin is, the more energy is required for PoW to secure the network. In other words, the reason that Bitcoin uses up so much more electricity than Dogecoin (DOGE), for example, is because BTC is much more secure than DOGE.

The irony of Elon Musk

From a power perspective, BTC uses up more energy in Bitcoin mining. This is due to the fact that Bitcoin is in a leadership position. The irony is that electricity is amorphous — amorphous in the sense that you don’t know where it comes from. Just by looking at a kilowatt of electricity transmitted to you, unless someone told you, you don’t know where it comes from. You have to track the origin source, where sometimes the source is green and renewable — such as solar, wind, hydro or geothermal — but sometimes the energy is dirty coal, nuclear and other dirty energy supplies that are out there.

The main issue is that energy itself is neutral. Energy doesn’t know where it came from. Energy is just energy — electricity. So, the irony is that with Elon Musk, the electric cars that he sells at Tesla are powered by the same energy that’s used in the coal-powered BTC mining machines. It is ironic that he’s been criticizing the mining machines for using up a lot of energy, as the Tesla cars are powered using a lot of energy that comes from all over the world. If you get to build and sell 10 million cars, they are going to use a lot of energy as a principle.
Who’s right, who’s wrong?

The way to truly get rid of dirty energy is to shut down production at the source: the power plant. This is the only way to get rid of unsustainable sources of energy. If Bitcoin mining is necessary, you may think that Christmas lights are okay or turning on the air conditioning is okay when in reality, Christmas lights — in my opinion — are truly unnecessary. I can also argue that air conditioning is also unnecessary. On the other hand, washing machines and dryers are necessary, but if you really wanted to, you could try to do the laundry naturally, by hand and in the creek behind your house.

Read More Here

Author: Cointelegraph By Bobby Lee
This post originally appeared on Cointelegraph.com News

Benefits cheat claimed £6,000 for his dead relative – then tried to blame DWP

Benefits cheat claimed £6,000 for his dead relative - then tried to blame DWP
Ruen Bennett, 59, was overpaid almost £6,000 before trying to blame the Department of Work and Pensions for a “mistake”. However, a court heard Bennett’s actions “amounted to dishonesty”.  
Bennett’s cousin died in November 2016 but the cheat claimed the extra cash until October 21, 2018, Birmingham Live reports.  

He walked free from Birmingham Magistrates’ Court last week after he was found guilty of failing to notify the Department of Work and Pensions of a change in circumstances.

Bennett was instead sentenced to a 12-month community order.

Speaking in court, Bennett claimed he called the Jobcentre moments after officially registering the death of his cousin. He said a staff member promised to call him back but never did and argued it was not his fault the job centre “forgot to throw the switch”.

Bennett’s deceit only emerged in October 2018 after he called to report a change in circumstance in relation to another benefit claim following a stay in hospital.

In June that year, he had signed a document confirming he was still caring for his cousin and in receipt of Carer’s Allowance.

Between January 23, 2017 and October 21, 2018 Bennett was overpaid £5,752.30, which he will have to pay back.

Shawn Williams, prosecuting, said: “He said he made a call and was expecting a callback and that call never came. The call never came because there wasn’t a call made in the first place. Why didn’t he follow it up?”

He added: “What would his motive be? You can only get away with it for so long. How do you bring a fraud like that to the end, how do you stop it? You can’t phone up and say ‘my cousin’s just died’ that would be easily discovered.

“He assessed the way to put it right was to say ‘I did tell you and you haven’t actioned it’.”

In the witness box, Bennett was asked why he never chased up the call back he was expecting, to which he replied: “I didn’t see the need. They knew he was dead. It was up to them.”

He claimed he did not notice he was still being paid Carer’s Allowance because his pay only stated he had received money from the DWP, but it did not specify what it was for.

Bennett, from Perry Barr, Birmingham, told the court he had become involved in an argument with a job centre worker in October 2018 when they informed him he was still in receipt of payment.

When quizzed about the statement he signed in June 2018 he said: “I actually didn’t read the thing properly. I signed it but I couldn’t read his (DWP investigator’s) writing.

“If he mentioned Carer’s Allowance on that day I would have been down his throat. The reason he called me was because I was working, and it was about my income support. He didn’t mention Carer’s Allowance.

“If he did I would have put him in his place there and then.

“A manager called me and said it’s a mistake, someone’s forgotten to throw the switch to turn off the money. Somewhere down the line, someone hasn’t told the machine or whatever to stop paying me. I left it there.”

Bennett added: “They should have done their job in the first place. It shouldn’t have to take me to come into court. I wasn’t doing it trying to rob anybody. I went out of my way and reported it.”

The chairman of the bench said: “We are satisfied the defendant didn’t report the death of his cousin and never confirmed the change in his circumstances.”

Bennett must complete 20 days of rehabilitation activity requirement, adhere to a 13-week electronically tagged curfew between 7pm and 7am as well as pay an £85 victim surcharge.

The DWP will recover the overpaid benefit separately.

This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: UK Feed

Freeview users are losing channels across the UK, and your phone could be to blame

Freeview users are losing channels across the UK, and your phone could be to blame
Are you struggling to watch your favourite show on Freeview? A number of Freeview users have complained of sound disappearing, frozen pictures, or, worst of all, complete loss of both audio and picture. Viewers who suffer the latter are left looking at an error message warning of “no signal” in their area… not exactly what you need when you’re on tenterhooks for the Line Of Duty finale, tuning in to Eurovision, or catching up on Innocent.
The issues plaguing Freeview set-top box owners have been reported in a number of areas across the UK, including North Lanarkshire and Portsmouth. And each time, it seems to be the same problem causing the broken feed: 4G masts.

Yes, it appears 4G mobile data services have been switched on in a number of areas across the UK, with the signal for these speedy mobile downloads to your smartphone sitting beside the frequencies used by Freeview (800 MHz, to be exact). So, while you might’ve noticed a few more bars of signal on your smartphone in recent weeks, the signal is also playing havoc with the frequency used by your Freeview aerial to receive channels.

Thankfully, there is a fix available to Freeview viewers struggling to tune-in to their favourite channels.

If you’ve been left unable to get a clear picture to your Freeview box, a new company – set up under directions from the UK Government – can apply a special filter to your set-up to ensure the Freeview frequencies are left uninterrupted. Dubbed at800, the company can resolve any issues related to frequencies.

If you’re using ANY of these passwords, you need to change them now

At800 will also offer extra support for people aged 75 years or over, who are registered blind or partially sighted, or who receive certain benefits. Those include personal independence payments (PIPs), attendance allowance, constant attendance allowance, or War Pensioner’s Mobility Support.

Speaking about the role of at800 fixing those left without Freeview due to the expansion of 4G signal coverage across the UK, at800 CEO Ben Roome told The Daily Record: “It’s our role to fix Freeview interference caused by 4G at 800 MHz, free of charge. If you rely on Freeview for TV, we can send you a filter to fit yourself, for free, which fits into the aerial lead connecting to TVs and set-top boxes to block mobile signals. Full instructions are included, and we can provide further advice online and by phone if needed.”

In most instances, fitting a simple filter should resolve any interference from 4G at 800 MHz. This can be done in a single appointment. However, if that doesn’t work, at800 is also available for follow-up visits at no cost to resolve the issues.

Cable and satellite television providers, like Sky Q and Virgin Media TV, should not be affected by the newly-installed 4G masts. That’s because of the frequencies used by these set-top boxes to receive their channel feeds and Electronic programming guide (EPG). However, if viewers have cable and satellite from these providers at home, but still watch Freeview – in a spare bedroom, for example – at800 can still provide the free filter service to fix any issues.

It comes as Freeview rolled out a crucial update to anyone using an Android TV-powered Smart TVs. On-demand shows and live broadcasts will now be included in the redesigned menu from Google, which develops the Android TV software used by manufacturers including Sony, Hisense, and more.

This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Tech Feed

Conservatives Seize on Gas Crunch to Blame Biden, Stir Base

Conservatives Seize on Gas Crunch to Blame Biden, Stir Base

(AP) – A graphic calling the East Coast fuel supply crunch “Biden’s Gas Crisis.” A tweet speculating that gas stations running dry was an “INSIDE JOB.” A meme depicting the president and vice president cheering about the “Green New Deal” in front of a snaking line at a fuel station.

These and thousands of other social media posts along with conservative websites and commentators this week misleadingly painted President Joe Biden and his administration as catalysts of chaos — who not only mishandled the temporary shutdown of the nation’s largest fuel pipeline on Friday — but engineered it.

In reality, a ransom-seeking cyberattack, not a Biden executive order or energy policy, triggered the shutdown that drove residents of states such as North Carolina to panic-buy so much gas that nearly 70% of service stations in the state remained without fuel on Thursday afternoon.

Biden spoke about the hack Thursday as he sought to assuage fears around the supply crunch, reassuring the public that his administration had helped get the Colonial Pipeline back online Wednesday and that remaining outages at gas stations were a “temporary situation” that panic-buying would only exacerbate.

Still, some of the most widely shared tweets discussing the gas crunch between Friday and Wednesday lobbed criticism toward the president, according to the media intelligence firm Zignal Labs. Posts surfaced by Zignal blamed the president for the outages, criticized his response and condemned him for canceling plans for the Keystone XL oil pipeline — though that project, which would have built a crude oil pipeline, would have had no impact on the current situation.

Misleading narratives targeting Biden began picking up speed on Monday, the day North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper became the first of several governors to declare a state of emergency over the disruption.

“Wouldn’t it be weird if the CYBER-ATTACK that shutdown the United States’ top fuel line was an INSIDE JOB to pretend Joe Biden isn’t responsible for the insane increase in gas price..” read a widely shared tweet by former Florida congressional candidate Chuck Callesto.

“People can’t complain about gas prices if there’s no gas to buy,” read the caption of an image depicting a sinister Biden with his fingers interlaced, retweeted by U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert, a Republican from Colorado.

Other posts claimed the long gas lines across the Southeast U.S. were a harbinger of America’s future under Democrats, casting Biden as a socialist in a strategy that Republicans have frequently turned to in recent years.

“Gas shortages now, food shortages tomorrow?” tweeted Fox Nation host Tomi Lahren. “Wow … starting to feel like socialism is on the way….”

In another narrative, posts equated Biden to former President Jimmy Carter who saw his presidency crumble as a result of the 1979 fuel shortage. A statement from former President Donald Trump on Wednesday, amplified by conservative websites including Breitbart News, branded a laundry list of national and global challenges as Biden’s fault.

“Jimmy mishandled crisis after crisis, but Biden has CREATED crisis after crisis,” Trump wrote. “First there was the Biden Border Crisis (that he refuses to call a Crisis), then the Biden Economic Crisis, then the Biden Israel Crisis, and now the Biden Gas Crisis.”

Fox News Channel’s Sean Hannity on Tuesday first broadcast the graphic of Biden smiling with the words “Biden’s Gas Crisis,” a term that later gained momentum on Facebook and Twitter.

Recent world events have challenged the Biden administration in its economic goals. Over the past week, it has faced a disappointing monthly jobs report, worrisome signs of inflation and escalating violence in Israel with deaths that could foreshadow a war in the Middle East. All the while, Biden is still attempting to vaccinate the nation against the coronavirus, distribute hundreds of billions of dollars in economic aid and negotiate his own infrastructure and families plans that total a combined $ 4 trillion.

Higher energy prices often have political fallout, complicating reelection campaigns for incumbents outside oil-producing regions.

With gas prices already rising as COVID-19 restrictions loosen and Americans travel more, the pipeline’s shutdown has created an even worse public relations problem for Biden. Fuel hoarding and lines at the pump have made it difficult to gain control of the narrative.

The Biden administration’s message that the problem was a supply crunch rather than a gas shortage, while accurate, didn’t satisfy Americans who couldn’t find gas to fill their cars, according to Doug Heye, a Republican strategist based in Washington.

“You have Republican division over the House Republican Conference and you had a hearing yesterday where people were basically denying what happened on Jan. 6,” Heye said. “If you want to push a conservative message, the Biden administration just did you a favor.”

Author: AP News
This post originally appeared on Snopes.com

Why YOU could be to blame for your frustratingly slow broadband, according to BT

Why YOU could be to blame for your frustratingly slow broadband, according to BT
As millions of us continue to work, study and socialise from home …a speedy home broadband connection has gone from a nice bonus to an absolute necessity. If you’ve got a busy household, broadband speeds can soon grind to a halt. If you need to make video calls, collaborate on documents, upload a backup, or stream a new boxset on Netflix – that can be incredibly frustrating.
It’s not always obvious what is causing your Wi-Fi to slow down, but thankfully BT has revealed some insight to help you work out what to shut off to get your internet back up to full pelt. As well as insight into what might be causing any sluggish speeds at home, BT Home Tech Expert Tayyab Farid has some helpful tips to make sure you can work, stream, and study on your home internet as planned.

Online Gaming

Since the start of the global pandemic, BT’s home broadband network has seen a 60 percent increase in web traffic. BT, Virgin Media, Sky and other broadband suppliers have all clocked up new records for the most data downloaded by customers nationwide in a single day. And when it comes to sapping download speeds – and slowing down the Wi-Fi for everyone else at home, nothing is as good as online gaming.

Yes, more time sheltered inside has led to a surge increase in video games – with PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X consoles sold out everywhere, Nintendo Switch bundles hard to come by at the start of the pandemic, and fitness-focused Ring Fit Adventure still tough to find on store shelves… it’s clear that millions at rediscovered a love of gaming. Games with huge online components, such as Fortnite, FIFA and Call of Duty: Warzone, have also enjoyed huge success over the last 12 months.

However, playing online with your friends can only be truly enjoyed if you have wi-fi that can keep up.

Insights from BT have revealed that to play online games at an “optimum” level, players will require speeds of between 15-25Mbps– which has a significant impact on the broadband connection in the rest of the home. After all, the average broadband speed nationwide for an entire home is only a shade over 60Mbps.

To reduce the impact of online gaming, players can reduce their graphical settings to a lower quality. Sure, things might not look quite as sharp on-screen, but it could mean that everyone else at home can continue to make video calls, stream, and shop online. A hard-wired connection for the computer or console could also give the Wi-Fi some much-needed respite too.

Virgin Media and O2 merger will see another huge broadband boost

Video Calls

While online gaming might be a (sizeable) niche, video calls are something we’re all guilty of doing this year. Whether it’s Zoom, Teams or Apple FaceTime, we’ve all become far more accustomed to video calls over the course of the last year. Each video call needs a minimum of 2Mbps download speed to keep the picture clear and the audio in-sync (nobody wants to deal with any of those Eurovision style delays where you end up talking over each other), and as video calls ideally need some privacy, it’s crucial to have a strong connection in different rooms of the house.

If you’re struggling to make calls, it’s well worth checking the speed you’re getting from your router. SpeedTest.net and Fast.com are two excellent services that quickly reveal exactly how fast your broadband is. A number of providers, including BT, offer speed guarantees with some of their packages. So, if you’re consistently under the magic number, you could get a refund.

Streaming Movies

It’s fair to say that one of the most common activities at home over the past year has been streaming TV and movies and with some content providers advising 25Mbps to guarantee a flawless experience it’s vital that you have a strong connection to stream your favourite content effortlessly. Like online gaming, that’s a healthy amount of bandwidth.

If you’re struggling to stream when other family members are gaming, making calls, shopping online and more… it might be time to upgrade to a faster speed from your provider. Full-fibre connections are now available up to an eye-watering 1,000Mbps in some areas of the country – more than enough for your entire street to stream in your living room without slowing connections. However, if that’s not an option – maybe download that movie overnight, instead of streaming? Or, have a family movie night together – so nobody is using the Wi-Fi for anything else when you’re watching?

Why PS5 stock shortages could stop you switching to better broadband

Tayyab Farid, a member of BT’s Home Tech Expert, has also shared some tips on how to get the most out of your Wi-Fi set up.

1/ Location, Location, Location

Position your hub in the middle of your home to reduce the number of walls slowing down your signal.

Once you’re more than two walls away from your hub, it has to work harder and your speeds may drop.

Mesh systems, like BT’s Complete Wi-Fi, Amazon’s Eero, or Google Nest Wifi, can help extend Wi-Fi coverage throughout every room in the house to increase overall speed and capacity. To do this, they add multiple nodes throughout the home – so your devices are never more than a single wall away from a source of super-speedy Wi-Fi.

2/ Device Speed and Connection

If your Wi-Fi feels sluggish, it could be due to the device you are using. Typically, the newer your equipment, the faster the wireless speed it will support.

The more devices you’re using, the more you’re using the total capacity of your home broadband especially if you have multiple Netflix streams and kids online gaming.

BT customers can test their speed using the My BT app, where you can check your ‘Speed to your Hub’ and ‘Speed to your Device.’

3/ Increase bandwidth and future-proof your home with Full Fibre

Recent research discovered that the average home now has 28 devices connected to Wi-Fi, including four Smart TVs, three tablets, two laptops and two games consoles. With homes becoming smarter that number is only going to rise so the need for a decent in-home connection has ever been greater.

If you haven’t changed your broadband contract for a few years… you might be languishing with some pretty outdated speeds. New deals crop-up all the time. And if you’re moving from one Openreach supplier to another (this includes brands like BT, EE, Plusnet, TalkTalk and Sky), they have to handle all the faff of switching between connections for you! So, you don’t need to worry about being left without access to internet for days on end.

More Than Half of Republicans in New Poll Blame Capitol Attack on “Left-Wing” Rioters

More Than Half of Republicans in New Poll Blame Capitol Attack on "Left-Wing" Rioters

About half of Republicans still do not accept the verified fact that conservative protesters, supporters of former President Donald J. Trump, attacked the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, according to a poll released Monday.

Overall, 61 percent of Americans think Mr. Trump “is at least partly to blame for starting the deadly Jan. 6 riot” — but only 28 percent of Republicans agreed with that statement, according to a new Reuters/Ipsos poll.[1]

And 55 percent of Republicans believe that the riot was started by “violent left-wing protesters trying to make Trump look bad.” The F.B.I. has said there is no evidence to support those claims.[2]

Moreover, six in 10 Republicans also believe Mr. Trump’s false assertion that the presidential election “was stolen” from him as result of widespread ballot fraud — while around 80 percent in the party want him to run again in 2024.

But only three of 10 independents, swing voters who sway the results of many tight races, had a favorable view of Trump, while 60 percent do not want Mr. Trump to run again. (The poll had a margin of error of about 4 percentage points.)

The survey, which was conducted online last week with responses from 1,005 adults around the country, is a vivid illustration of the effectiveness of misinformation efforts, echoed by right-wing social media.

Investigators, news outlets and congressional committees have demonstrated — with comprehensive and unmistakable visual, audio and documentary evidence — that the rioters who stormed the Capitol were supporters of Mr. Trump. They were chanting pro-Trump slogans, tried to find legislators they deemed hostile to the former president and were, in part, organized by far-right groups, including the Proud Boys.[3][4]

Mr. Trump has downplayed his role in inciting the attack and recently told Fox News that the rioters posed “zero threat,”[5] despite law enforcement agencies reporting injuries to at least 138 officers[6] — 73 from the Capitol Police[7] and 65 from the Metropolitan Police Department in Washington. One Capitol Police officer, Brian D. Sicknick[8], was killed.

Republicans, including Senator Mitch McConnell, the minority leader, have complained[9] about the cordon of security around the complex, arguing that it is unnecessarily restrictive, while others have boasted about bypassing magnetometers[10] installed outside the House chamber.

Dangers persist, however. On Friday, a man[11] rammed into a security checkpoint near the Capitol, killing one officer and seriously injuring another. The man was shot and killed after jumping out of his car and lunging toward the officers with a knife.

Glenn Thrush

Fuming Mikel Arteta 'in shock' at 'unacceptable' Arsenal loss to Liverpool but takes blame

Fuming Mikel Arteta 'in shock' at 'unacceptable' Arsenal loss to Liverpool but takes blame
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta admitted an “exceptional” Liverpool were better in every area of the pitch and said his side’s performance was “unacceptable”, though took all of the blame himself, after his side’s 3-0 Premier League defeat to the Reds at the Emirates on Saturday evening.
The Gunners were offered a brutal reminder as to where they stand as top-four chasing Liverpool, still the reigning champions for a few weeks yet, comprehensively outperformed them throughout the 90 minutes.

Diogo Jota’s second-half brace either side of a well-taken Mohamed Salah finish did the damage as the Merseyside visitors took the full three points in a big result for their hopes of Champions League qualification.

Missing the likes of Emile Smith Rowe, Bukayo Saka, David Luiz and Granit Xhaka, Arsenal served up a dire performance in which they had just three shots all match and sat back and invited pressure which they ultimately could not deal with.

And they were also handed the added blow of losing first-choice left-back Kieran Tierney to injury in the first half ahead of Thursday’s crunch Europa League quarter-final first leg against Slavia Prague at the Emirates.

The Arsenal manager insisted the brunt of criticism after the defeat to Liverpool should lie at his feet and admits his side were nowhere near the standards expected.

Arteta said: “Very much [disappointed]. We completely deserved to lose the game. They were better in every department.

“They deserved to win the game with the margin they had, or more. Unacceptable from our side, the way we played today.

“They were much better than us in every department, they won every duel, every second ball, every challenge. They were brave when they had the ball and made the right decisions, we didn’t.

“It’s my fault. The team have to perform in a different way. I prefer to do that [take the blame]. I take it. Congratulations to Liverpool because I think they were exceptional today. They can play at that level.

“We showed the difference today between two teams when we play at that level, the margin is incredibly high.

“I don’t have to use excuses that we didn’t have five or six players. It’s not about that. The standard has to be much higher for this football club. It’s my job to get them to perform at that level.

“It was technical as well. We gave every ball away, we could not put three passes together. They do that really well, they counter press really well.

“In football you have an opportunity a few days later and if you have courage and big balls and you represent a club like this, you have to stand up in the next game and take it.”

Defeat to Liverpool leaves Arsenal ninth in the league table and at risk of slipping to 10th after this weekend with Aston Villa just one point behind and having played two matches less.

The north London club are also four points adrift of eighth-placed Everton, who similarly have two games in hand.

Villa face relegation-battling Fulham on Sunday (4.30pm) while Everton host Crystal Palace at Goodison Park on Monday night (8pm).

Arsenal’s next league match sees them face bottom-of-the-table Sheffield United, effectively already demoted to the Championship, next Sunday (7pm).

Scrapping TV licence will have to be delayed to 2038 – and your internet speed is to blame

BBC Licence Fee TV Broadband Speeds Charter Period

Switching to a Netflix-style monthly subscription won’t be possible with current broadband speeds (Image: UNSPLASH)

Government proposals to scrap the BBC TV Licence fee and replace it with a Netflix-style monthly subscription from 2027 onwards have been rubbished in a new report from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Select Committee. According to the report, the UK Government has “left itself with no option on the licence fee” because it has “failed to put in place the necessary broadband infrastructure that would facilitate other funding mechanisms”. 
Prime Minister Boris Johnson quietly walked-back his General Election pledge to “level up” home internet infrastructure across the country with future-proofed gigabit broadband to every home by 2025. As millions of us worked, studied and socialised from home over the internet last year, the Government quietly reduced its commitment to bring speedy broadband to every home… down to 85 percent of premises within the next five years.

Critics have pointed out that the final 15 percent will be the most rural areas, where it might not be financially viable for companies to install broadband. That’s something Boris Johnson had initially pledged to solve with his £5 billion war chest broadband. Unfortunately, those homes will likely now be left without the upgrade.

Worse still, broadband speeds across the UK right now are not in a good place. According to research from Cable.co.uk published last year, the average home internet connection in the UK is 37.82Mbps. At that rate, it should take roughly 15 minutes to download a feature-length movie in High Definition (HD). That puts the UK – the sixth biggest economy on the planet – behind 46 other nations globally in the speed league, including 21 in Western Europe.

And it’s these abysmal speeds that DCMS has singled-out as the reason plans to replace the existing TV Licence model cannot go ahead as planned in time for the next review.

BT tries to prevent strikes from wreaking ‘massive’ havoc to broadband

BBC Licence Fee TV Broadband Speeds Charter Period

UK broadband speeds are some of the worst in Europe, something Boris Johnson had promised to fix (Image: GETTY)

In its report, the DCMS Select Committee warned delays to the Government’s “full fibre broadband rollout” were to blame for the fact that a “wholly online public service broadcasting system allowing for universal access is not yet viable.” If everything the TV Licence pays for moved online right now, a lack of access to broadband and lack of digital literacy would result in “1.8 million households losing television and public service broadcasting services,” the report warns.

Streaming services, like Netflix, Disney+ and Amazon Prime, rely entirely on the internet to distribute content – with no terrestrial channels.

In its damning conclusion, the latest report states that a monthly subscription service like those popularised by Netflix and Prime Video will not work with the current state of UK broadband speeds. As such, the DCMS Select Committee scolds the Government to either dream-up a “strong alternative to the licence fee” to put to Parliament, or “strongly support the current model for at least the next Charter period” and aid the BBC in cracking down on TV Licence evasion.

The next Charter period runs from 2028 to 2038, by which time (fingers crossed) the UK broadband network will be looking a little healthier.

TV licence fee: BBC ‘need new business model’ says expert

Julian Knight MP, DCMS Committee Chair, said: “It’s clear that the BBC TV licence fee has a limited shelf life in a digital media landscape. However, the Government has missed the boat to reform it. Instead of coming up with a workable alternative, it has sealed its own fate through a failure to develop a broadband infrastructure that would allow serious consideration of other means to fund the BBC.

The Government is effectively allowing the BBC to haemorrhage funds through non-payment of the licence fee as a result of continued speculation over decriminalisation of licence fee evasion, a situation it must bring to an end

Julian Knight MP

“Not only that, but the Government is effectively allowing the BBC to haemorrhage funds through non-payment of the licence fee as a result of continued speculation over decriminalisation of licence fee evasion, a situation it must bring to an end. To enable public service broadcasters to compete in a digital world, Ministers must renew broadcasting laws that are nearly 20 years out of date.

“It’s a question of prominence – too often public service broadcasters lose out on dominant platforms with content that’s hard to find or isn’t branded. However, there is more that public service broadcasters should be doing for themselves and only by pooling resources can they hope to compete with the likes of Netflix and the platforms. The collaboration by the BBC and ITV on ‘BritBox’ is a striking example of how they can work together to create a ‘one stop shop’ for video on demand content – a model for future work.”

Netflix recommends speeds of at least 5Mbps to stream its content in High Definition (HD). You’ll need at least 25Mbps to watch in Ultra HD 4K quality. The report from DCMS acknowledges that around 10Mbps should be enough to watch online television streams, however, it adds that 190,000 premises across the UK can’t even manage that right now.

While 5Mbps for HD content from Netflix might not sound like a lot – you’ve got to remember that your home broadband connection is rarely only handling a single stream. Children could be watching another show upstairs, laptops could be backing up, friends could be making a FaceTime video call, or someone could be online shopping while watching telly. And that’s not even considering updates to your smartphone apps, video game updates and purchases, collaborating on work documents, and more.

Broadband companies have warned that moving television channels to broadband cables could also create a surge in demand – putting existing networks under even more strain.

And that’s not taking into account the 2.7 million adults living in the UK right now who are unable or unwilling to use the internet at all.

Given the huge popularity of streaming services and the contract-free monthly subscription service that pays for them, the TV Licence is likely living on borrowed time. However, these issues will need to be solved – as the DCMS report highlights – before the current funding model can be replaced wholesale. Given the amount of time left before the next Charter period begins, it seems unlikely that Boris Johnson and his teams will be able to solve in the next six years.

As it stands, the TV licence costs £157.50 a year, although that’s set to increase to £159 next month. The cost of an annual black-and-white TV licence is also set to rise, from £53 to £53.50 a year. Anyone who watches live broadcasts – including those airing on streaming services, like Amazon Prime Video, ITV Hub, and NOW TV – needs to be covered by a TV licence. However, you won’t need a TV licence to watch on-demand or catch-up shows, like those found on Netflix.

BBC Licence Fee TV Broadband Speeds Charter Period

BBC will likely move to an online-only contract-free subscription, but don’t expect it to happen yet (Image: GETTY)

The one exception to this rule is BBC iPlayer, which requires a TV licence regardless of whether you’re watching on-demand boxsets, films or live channels.

The cost of the TV licence is determined by the UK Government. Back in 2016, it confirmed the price would rise in line with inflation for five years, starting from April 2017. The latest increase, which was announced earlier this year, was calculated using an inflation figure of 1.075 percent. This was the average Consumer Prices Index (CPI) inflation in the year ending September 2020. BT and EE use the same CPI to adjust their television, broadband and mobile phone plans each year too.

The Government is currently conducting a mid-term review of the Royal Charter, investigating whether to change how the cost of the TV licence will change between 2022 and 2027.

For its part, the BBC has suggested alternate funding models. Last year, it outlined plans to drop the TV licence in favour of a new levy or tax on broadband bills – as this is increasingly the delivery method for viewers to watch shows, live sporting fixtures, Hollywood blockbusters, and more.