IP Bearers Overview

The BBC provides live radio streams in a number of different bitrates, codecs and transports. The client should choose an IP stream bearer based on its capabilities and available bandwidth.

Each of the IP bearer stream URLs will point to a BBC system called MediaSelector. Please follow the guidance on interacting with MediaSelector and CDNs that it redirects to.

Codecs and Bitrates

The BBC encodes its live audio streams at the following bitrates:

Audio Bitrate

Audio Codec




48 kHz



48 kHz



48 kHz



48 kHz


There are two MPEG-DASH bearers (identified with application/dash+xml). These are Adaptive Bitrate streams and should automatically switch between the four available bitrates (two outside the UK). One IP stream bearer uses HTTPS and the other uses legacy plain HTTP, but they are otherwise identical.

See the MPEG-DASH Playback page for guidance on playback of MPEG-DASH.

HLS Bearers

There are eight HLS bearers (identified with application/vnd.apple.mpegurl). For HLS we provide constant bitrate streams at the four bitrates. Each of the four HLS bitrates is also available over either HTTPS or legacy plain HTTP.

See the HLS Playback page for guidance on playback of HLS.


It is the BBC’s preference that you use secure HTTPS streams wherever possible. This increases the security and privacy of listeners and ensures that the streams cannot be intercepted or changed by a third party. For the time being, we are also providing plain HTTP streams for devices that are unable to play HTTPS streams but these may be withdrawn in the future.

International Restrictions

The higher bitrates (128kbps and 320kbps) are not available outside the UK. The IP Stream bearers that are not available outside the UK are marked with:

<geolocation allow="false"/>
<geolocation allow="true">

Not all content is available outside the UK. When you first connect to the stream, a GeoIP lookup will be done on the client’s IP address. This will decide if the client receives the UK version or the international version of the stream. Listeners will hear a pre-recorded message, instead of the stream for programmes that are not available outside the UK.