A new campaign has been launched to ensure the future of television and radio broadcast via antenna rather than satellite, cable, internet and smart speaker.
Research shows that 90% of people in the South West want to see continued support for these services.
Digital terrestrial television (DTT) – better known as Freeview – is accessible to everyone without the need for a very high speed connection or paying a monthly subscription.
Data from infrastructure company Arqiva shows that 53% of people in the South West access Freeview services weekly.
The campaign, called Broadcast 2040+, was launched as the government and regulator Ofcom make major decisions on the future of broadcasting in the UK.
On current plans, there is only certainty of provision for television and radio through an antenna until the early 2030s. There are a series of decisions to come on the long-term future of broadcasting services. The first of these will take place at the World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC) next year, where countries will decide how much spectrum – the radio frequencies used for broadcasting – to allocate to television and on radio, and how much to give to other technologies. such as mobile services.
Decisions taken at previous WRCs have already led to a reduction in the amount of spectrum allocated to digital terrestrial television, with services squeezed into fewer and fewer frequency bands.
This comes in light of the BBC’s recent announcement in its mid-term charter review that BBC4, CBBC and Radio 4 Extra will go live only.
Research by Broadcast 2040+/IPSO has shown that 53% of people in the South West access television via an antenna every week, 90% of people in the South West want to see continued support for digital terrestrial television and radio.
The elderly, lonely, less well-off and those in rural areas are the most dependent on Freeview and radio services – which are available to everyone.
The Broadcast 2040+ campaign is backed by Age UK, Silver Voices, Rural Services Network and Voice of the Listener & Viewer to secure a government commitment on the future of broadcasting. People struggling with the cost of living also depend on Freeview. Rising prices have led households to cut TV streaming services as people look for ways to save money, with more than half a million subscriptions canceled for this reason in the first three month of 2022, according to Kantar.
The campaign aims to secure a commitment from the government that DTT and broadcasting will be safeguarded until 2040 and beyond.
Shuja Khan, Arqiva’s new Managing Director, said:
“Whether it’s listening to the radio over breakfast or watching the news during 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 in the South West – including the most vulnerable – depend on content available to them anytime, anywhere, and don’t need a super-fast internet subscription or 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.”