A coalition of groups and broadcasters is calling on the Government to guarantee access to Freeview and radio services beyond 2040.
Broadcast 2040+ says that broadcast TV and radio are only guaranteed until the early 2030s under current Government policy. They are asking the UK Government to commit to safeguarding these services until at least the 2040s.
New partners joining the campaign include Digital Poverty Alliance, which works to support those who live without or with minimal access to the internet, and the Campaign to End Loneliness.
The campaign says that broadcast services don’t require a broadband connection or monthly subscription, making the services well-suited to those on low incomes or living in the countryside. It also says research last year by Ipsos found that a quarter of people said that they would be “very lonely” if they lost their Freeview services, rising to more than 2 in 5 (44%) of those who are 65 and older and living alone.
Patrick Hannon, WorldDAB President said: “WorldDAB is backing the campaign because broadcast digital radio services are critical to securing radio’s future as a trusted and reliable source of news, entertainment and companionship for listeners in the UK and around the world. This is particularly vital in the car, where WorldDAB research found 90% of car buyers say that broadcast radio should be standard in every vehicle.”
The fire at the Bilsdale mast in North Yorkshire and subsequent loss of TV signals highlighted that many viewers and listeners don’t have access to alternative online platforms. Television services are due to be restored from the new mast next week.
Boom Radio UK, which this week saw its audience grow to over 630,000 weekly listeners, has joined the campaign.
Phil Riley, Chief Executive Officer of Boom Radio UK said: “Most of our listeners are in their 60s or 70s – and a few older than that. Although most of them are digitally literate, not all are. The worlds of streaming, podcasts, websites, and even social media are not platforms they have grown up with, they’ve listened to the radio all their lives – and they understand the flick of a button can bring them a world of enjoyment, entertainment, and most importantly companionship. It’s vital this route into older folks’ homes and hearts isn’t threatened.”
More information can be found on the campaign website at www.broadcast2040plus.org.