More than 26,000 young people between the ages of 18 and 25 were caught watching live TV without a TV Licence in the past year, with more than 400 caught in Warwickshire, according to new figures released today.
It is by some distance the most of six nearby counties including Northamptonshire (more than 250), Buckinghamshire (more than 130), Hertfordshire (more than 140), Bedfordshire (more than 120) and Oxfordshire (44).
With 75% of first year undergraduates aged 25 and under, TV Licensing is reminding freshers that they could face prosecution and a fine of up to £1,000 if they are caught watching live TV, on any device, without a TV Licence.
Recent research by TV Licensing shows 29% think TV Licensing can’t catch people watching live TV on a computer, laptop or mobile device and just over half of students believe that people in general are unlikely to be caught if they watch live TV without a TV Licence.
But Mark Whitehouse, TV Licensing spokesman for London and the South East, is keen to dispel the myth.
He said: “Every year myths circulate about when you do and don’t need a licence.
“We want to make sure students know one is needed by law to watch or record live TV, on any device including a laptop, tablet, mobile phone or games console.
“A TV Licence costs on average £12.13 a month which goes towards services like Radio 1’s Big Weekend, BBC iPlayer, Newsbeat and BBC One Match of the Day.
“To avoid the risk of prosecution and a fine of up to £1,000, we encourage students to check if they need a licence on our website – or by calling 0300 790 6113.”
According to the report, when asked, two in three students had a positive opinion of the BBC and 67% thought the TV Licence offered value for money.
When do students need a TV Licence?
You need a TV Licence to watch or record programmes at the same time as they are shown on TV, regardless of which channel you’re watching, which device you are using (TV, computer, laptop, mobile phone or any other), and how you receive them (terrestrial, satellite, cable, via the internet or any other way).
If you live in halls of residence and use a device to watch or record TV in your own room, you need your own separate TV Licence
You also need your own licence if you are sharing a house with other students and use a device to watch/record TV in your room, and your room is a separately occupied place (a separate tenancy agreement would normally indicate that this is the case)
If you have a separate tenancy agreement but a television is only being used in a communal area, then only one licence is required
If you are sharing a house with other students and you use a device to watch/record TV in your own room, but the house can be treated as one place shared by all, then only one TV Licence is required (a joint tenancy agreement would usually be evidence that the house is a single licensable place for this purpose).
A device powered by its own internal batteries - a pocket sized TV or a mobile phone for example - may be covered by a licence at the student’s parents’ address. However, you must not install the device (plug it into the mains) when using it to receive television. If there is no TV Licence at your parents’ address, you will need to obtain one to watch TV.
A colour TV Licence currently costs £145.50, and a black and white licence is £49. The licence fee is frozen at its 2012 level of £145.50 until March 2017, three months after the current charter period.
Most students would need to buy a TV licence at the beginning of term in October in order to allow enough time at the end of the year to qualify for a refund.
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