I post this just in case it might help anyone else with similar problems or desires to my own.
Being keen on football and being English I enjoyed last year playing (badly) the Telegraph Fantasy Football game so I tried to sign up again this year. They have improved the game but also improved the system running it such that at some point in the registration process it kept telling me that my IP address was not acceptable and ended the registration. This is a similar problem I would often encounter with interesting radio transmissions, live football, golf, formula 1, etc, also with anything available on the excellent BBC iPlayer and with certain videos attached to news items too. Although I understand the legalities behind it, more or less, it has been a source of some annoyance for quite a while now. This latest blockage by the Telegraph spurred me on to find a solution.
Can I use BBC iPlayer outside the UK?
Rights agreements mean that BBC iPlayer television programmes are only available to users to download or stream (Click to Play) in the UK. However, we are aware of demand for an international version.
Most radio programmes are available outside the UK in addition to podcasts, although sporting and other programmes may be subject to rights agreements.
In addition, many BBC News programmes are available for viewers outside the UK, as are BBC Sport highlights.
Do make sure you check for the latest updates on BBC iPlayer or contact your own country’s broadcasters to find out if they offer a similar service to BBC iPlayer.
Everyone knows the problem is that my IP address gives me away as being located in Poland and so what you need to do is change your IP address into something more suitable. There are ways to ‘cloak’ your IP such that it appears to come from either nowhere or a random country. These may be okay for security issues but for my purposes I needed something to positively identify me as being in the UK, that means I needed to connect my computer to a server in the UK.
In the past I’ve had a go at assorted free “proxy servers” that people have suggested might help but I’ve found all of them to provide very unreliable service, if they worked at all, and so I sort of gave up on the whole thing. Now with new impetus I searched again and found the “UK Proxy Server” service. I signed up for the free trial and gave it a very successful workout first of all dealing with the Fantasy Football but then going on to listen to the open golf championship and then watch it and other programmes on the BBC iPlayer. It really couldn’t be any simpler to deal with – they give you an IP address a username and a password, you create a new network connection using all these details and bingo, you’re finished in 2 minutes or less. You then connect to the internet in the usual way, then activate the new connection as well and as far as the virtual world is concerned you are moved seamlessly from Warsaw to somewhere in the UK. When you don’t want to be in the UK you just close the new connection and it leaves you with your normal one working as it always did. For example, my mail programme doesn’t work when I’m in the UK, not exactly a big deal.
I’ve chosen the VPN (virtual private network) option as opposed to the proxy server and the smaller bandwidth version, 30Gb/month as opposed to the unlimited one. As with anything that is well put together and works as it is supposed to work, there’s a cost involved. In my case it costs 100.99 GBP per annum (or 10.99 per month), this is perhaps a little steep but considering the things I’ll be able to access now I think it is good value – even if only for the Saturday football radio and Match of the Day on the Beeb on the Sunday!
I’m certain there are cheaper ways of doing this, possibly also as reliable although my experience differs but if so I’ve never been able to find them and therefore I’m more than happy to have found this and that it installed and worked in a very painless fashion.
One warning. If you pay using ‘paypal’ be sure you double check the subscription for ongoing payments that is automatically set up. Mine was going to make the annual payment EVERY month!! It is easily cancelled and I’m certain from correspondence with their customer service that this is not a scam but a technical issue with paypal.
Last thought, comment. The statement I’m making here is that I’m happy to pay for access to UK generated content from my home in Warsaw, in this case BBC radio and TV primarily. I can understand why certain bodies might want to try and stop me getting this for free but surely it’s in their interests for my money to go directly to them rather than where it is going. Maybe they could think about how they could provide this as an option in future instead of just telling me “You live in the wrong place – bog off!”.