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An insecure future for broadcast radio and TV?

  • by JW

“We are campaigning for a commitment from the UK Government that broadcast TV and radio services will be available to everyone until 2040 and beyond.” [Broadcast 2040+]


The government has just published its Media Bill: “to maximise potential of British TV and radio”. However, not everyone feels that way – and this is cutting across the political divide – with the Mirror saying the government should ‘save TV and radio for pensioners and delay terrestrial switch off beyond 2034’ and the Express saying a fall in broadcast TV viewers should not be an excuse to stop services.

This has been echoed by the campaign group Broadcast 2040+, with calls to protect broadcast services ahead of the second reading of the government’s Media Bill, as covered by the Rural Services Network:

The government’s proposed Media Bill will receive its Second reading in the House of Commons today (Tuesday 21 November 2023).  The Bill represents the biggest update to media regulation in a generation and will shape the future of TV and radio services for years to come. However, under the current government policy, traditional broadcast services are only guaranteed until 2030.  After that, they will become redundant, replaced by services provided through a broadband connection. 

Campaign group Broadcast 2040+ is now calling on MPs to speak against the changes during today’s reading and to make the case for their rural constituents. The coalition, of which RSN is a member, says: “tens of millions of people across the country rely on them every day. We are campaigning for a commitment from the UK Government that broadcast TV and radio services will be available to everyone until 2040 and beyond. The Media Bill is the ideal opportunity to guarantee these protections.”

With more from the Broadcast 2040+ campaign:

Silver Voices, an over-60s campaign group and founding member of the Broadcast 2040+ campaign, has published its landmark report. The report examines in detail how the UK public feel about broadcast TV and radio services. You can read the full report here.

The report “Safeguarding Universality” by coalition member Silver Voices, found that:

  • Over 80% of respondents believe broadcast TV and radio should be protected well beyond 2040, with respondents’ answers ranging between 2051 and 2079. This is far in advance of the UK Government’s current commitment of 2034.
  • Almost three-quarters (74%) said that partial or total removal of broadcast services in the future risks leaving behind significant portions of the population.
  • The cost of online subscriptions (53%) and struggling to afford broadband bills (46%) in the next 15 years were cited as the top barriers to moving to online-only TV and radio services.
  • Just over 2 in 3 (67%) respondents said they are worried that large sections of the population would be left behind if broadcast TV and radio were not protected, citing older generations, disabled people, and those living in rural areas as most vulnerable to future changes.
  • 81% said that universal access to public service content should be protected by the law, regardless of cost, tech ability, or geographic location.