Our Blog
Solutions. Made Simple.

How to prevent your staff from using iPlayer

…or, “No, I will not be buying a BBC TV licence for my staff”

Well, the law changed yesterday so that allowing people to use the BBC iPlayer at work makes their company liable to pay for an annual TV licence. What a rip-off! So you’re now forcing people who pretty much universally pay for a TV licence at home to have to pay for another TV licence to cover their staff, who also pretty much universally pay for a TV licence at home. I’ve yet to see a more clear indication that the fools who make decisions like this for the government and the BBC should really be unemployed. If anyone has ever wondered what has happened to the traditional “village idiots”… I can show you where they are.

Well, I’m not standing for this. The BBC is a poor enough service as it is, wasteful, expensive, biased, you name it, it’s easy to criticise. It wouldn’t bother me, except I’m expected to directly pay for it too. There’s no opting out. Do you know how many BBC TV programmes I have watched in the last few months? Two or three half-episodes of Robot Wars and Bake-Off. I watch good quality programmes on Netflix most nights, for £7/month. I pay the BBC more than twice as much, and watch it maybe 2% of the time. I do admit to reading the BBC news website a lot though, so at least they do something well, but given the choice between paying £145.50 a year or going without any BBC services, I know which I would pick.

Anyway, in anticipation of the constant stream of threatening letters from the TV Licensing Authority, I’ve just made a few simple router configuration changes which prevent my staff from accessing iPlayer. These changes, documented here for posterity (and date-stamped proof) use our Draytek Router’s features to block specific URLs, which I’ve set up to catch all the variations of iPlayer that I can identify. I’ve also told my staff that the company rules dictate that they not use iPlayer at work. I think this is reasonable and sufficient behaviour – if the BBC chooses to move the goalposts without telling me (e.g. moving the address of iPlayer) then I’ll deal with that as and when I notice.

So here’s a set of useful screen grabs which show you how to do it…  I think you probably don’t need to enable the “DNS Filter” setting actually.  Turning that on gave us some issues, and after turning it off we’re currently locked out of the router admin interface, it’s looking like I might end up having to recover it from the latest backup and re-apply the other changes.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

[edited: 5th Sept, to fix the misspellings. Also it’s worth noting I can now confirm, *all* my staff have full TV licenses at their home addresses]