According to a poll, 90% of people want to see continued support for Freeview and broadcast radio. A study commissioned by the telecommunications company Arqiva also indicated that 85% of people believe that the government or local MPs should actively support its continued availability.
Meanwhile, 83% of respondents thought the BBC should continue to actively support these services. About three-quarters (73%) said free-to-air television is important or even essential, and 84% say the same about radio.
A quarter of people (25%) said they would feel very lonely if Freeview services via aerial were lost and a similar proportion (23%) agreed they would be very lonely without a radio. Freeview, the UK’s only digital terrestrial TV platform, is universally available across the country and doesn’t need a super-fast broadband connection.
The research comes as the government and media regulator Ofcom face decisions on the future of broadcasting in the UK. Earlier this month, the BBC announced that BBC Four, CBBC and Radio 4 Extra will only go online for years to come.
Current plans only guarantee the provision of television and radio via antenna until the early 2030s. In response, Arqiva has launched the Broadcast 2040+ campaign – working with organizations such as Age UK, Silver Voices , the Rural Services Network and Voice of Listener and Viewer – aiming to protect the service to 2040 and beyond.
Shuja Khan, Managing Director of Arqiva, said: “Whether listening to the radio at breakfast or watching the news at major world events, television and radio unite us as families and communities. This national asset cannot be taken for granted and I am proud of the difference broadcast services are making in the lives of people across the country.
“People across the UK, including the most vulnerable, depend on content available to them anytime, anywhere, and don’t need a subscription or ultra-fast internet connection. That’s why we’re launching the Broadcast 2040+ campaign in coalition with other groups, to give viewers and listeners a voice and encourage decision-makers to preserve these essential services for the long term.
Age UK’s charity director, Caroline Abrahams, said: ‘While TV and radio broadcasting is enjoyed by many people across the UK, it is particularly important for older audiences, especially especially those with low incomes living alone. Many older people value current universal services and would struggle to afford alternatives such as subscription services.”
Colin Browne, chairman of consumer group Voice of the Listener and Viewer, said: “It’s only right that everyone in the UK can benefit from the huge potential of broadcasting to inform, engage and entertain with content from high quality. And we shouldn’t take our television and radio services, which are so admired around the world, for granted.”
Ipsos, on behalf of Arqiva, surveyed a sample of 3,006 participants aged over 18 – 2,005 across Britain and a further 1,001 living in postcodes most likely to have been served by the Bilsdale transmitter, between January 26 and March 4.
For more stories of where you live, visit In your region.