Since I spend 9 months of the year in Spain I use a vpn by default and I access iplayer just the same way I would back home.
The not free aspect amounts to a tick box to say you have a licence. To most people on the internet today this does mean it is free.
The point was to explain why the bbc is expensive compared to netflix since it is a lot less convenient to get content for nothing.
Yes, I do have a licence and subscribe to netflix as well as prime. The point was theoretical.