There are reports in the last few days that the BBC will start to be more active in blocking VPNs accessing their Iplayer Catch Up services.
This may start to be a problem for expats who access the BBC IPlayer service.
Normally the BBC Iplayer is accessible to users in the UK only. This is policed by checking the IP internet address of the user. So onlyusers with a UK IP internet address can access the service.
Those users outside the UK will find their access to the BBC Iplayer (and other UK Catch Up services like ITVPlayer and All4) blocked, as their “foreign” internet IP address will be blocked.
To circumnavigate this blocking, expats use Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) or Smart DNS services, that provide their users with an IP Internet address for their selected country. Meaning that if expats try to connect to the UK Catch Up services from another country, the VPNs make it look as if they are connecting from within the UK, and so their foreign IP Internet address is not blocked, as it is masked.
But now it looks like the BBC will start to police the use of VPNs more, and make it harder for expats to access their Iplayer service.
But why is the BBC (and other broadcasters) doing this? Well it boils down to broadcast rights for their programmes. The UK broadcasters only have the rights for broadcaster in the UK. Also, the BBCs commercial arm, BBC Worldwide, sells those programme right to other broadcasters in other countries. The argument here being that expats should watch the BBC programmes on their local channels.
This could end up as a game of cat and mouse, as the VPN services try and stay one step ahead of the BBC, but trying to get around the new check the BBC puts in place.