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How to watch BBC iPlayer in America, New Zealand, Australia & Canada (or ANYWHERE abroad)

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If you’re on holiday overseas or working abroad, you’ll experience difficulties watching BBC iPlayer. Here we help you sidestep the BBC’s IP blocks and show you how to watch BBC iPlayer in America, New Zealand, Australia and Canada (or anywhere abroad).

How to watch BBC iPlayer in America, New Zealand, Australia & Canada (or anywhere abroad)

  1. Download and install a VPN
  2. Select a server based in the UK
  3. Login to BBC iPlayer
  4. Watch BBC iPlayer from anywhere in the world

Why do I need a VPN to watch BBC iPlayer in America, New Zealand, Australia & Canada (or anywhere abroad)

The BBC, like any major television network, is subject to licencing laws that restrict it to broadcasting content only in its local territory. This means, in theory, you should only be able to access BBC content when you’re in Britain.

How to watch BBC iPlayer in America, New Zealand, Australia & Canada

The way the BBC (and every other network with catch-up TV services) enforces this rule with its internet-based content is by restricting access to foreign IP addresses.

Note that IP addresses are similar to international phone dialling codes. Each country has its own unique range of IP addresses, and this lets services like BBC iPlayer know where users attempt to access its content from.

How does a VPN work? VPNs (virtual private networks) offer a way around this by allowing users to spoof their location. VPNs work by sending encrypted data over a worldwide network of private servers.

A server is essentially a high-powered computer with an internet connection that decrypts a customer data packets and sends them to local ISPs. The returned data packets are re-encrypted and relayed back to the VPN user, wherever they are in the world, and the data decrypted. This process allows VPN customers to access a specific country’s internet from anywhere in the world.

The 3 Best VPNs

  1. NordVPN – $3.29/Month
  2. IPVanish – $6.49/ Month
  3. TunnelBear – $4.16/ Month

(See our Best VPNs of 2017 guide for more info)

Free vs Paid-for VPNs

There are two types of VPNs. Free and paid for. Free VPNs come with data caps, throttled connection speeds and blocked access to the fastest servers. Paying for a VPN will lift these restrictions, giving customers unlimited data, unthrottled transfer speeds and access to the fastest servers in the selected city/country of choice.

3 Best (Free) VPNs

  1. Tunnel Bear – 500MB/Month
  2. Windscribe – 10GB / Month
  3. Speedify – 1GB / Month

How much data do I need?

Streaming video with BBC iPlayer requires transfer speeds of roughly 2Mbps (at least) to ensure a smooth stream without buffering interruptions. Watching an hour’s worth of SD content can require anywhere between 600MB to 2GB.

Read next: How to watch BT Sport abroad.