Traditional TV: Campaigners urge ministers to protect traditional TV | Politics | News

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Campaigners have urged ministers to help safeguard the future of traditional broadcast TV and radio until the 2040s.

They particularly want to protect access for low income families.

The warning comes as the government’s Media Bill returns to parliament in the House of Lords today (Wed).

Under current plans TV transmitted through an aerial – used by 17 million people – is guaranteed only until the mid-2030s.

The majority of people will then be able to watch television only via high-speed internet.

The Broadcast 2040+ campaign is calling on Peers to encourage ministers to get behind its call for the big “switch off” to be pushed back to the 2040s at the earliest.

They say this will allow time for broadband coverage in all areas of the UK and give more certainty for vulnerable groups, the elderly and those living in rural areas..

Elizabeth Anderson, Chief Executive Officer of the Digital Poverty Alliance, appealed to Peers to grasp today’s debate as an opportunity to protect the UK’s creative industries, including the future of broadcast TV and radio services.

“With millions lacking the connectivity required to participate in a modern, digital economy, either due to affordability or location, now more than ever, we must protect access to these services,” she said.

“They are vital platforms, enabling those in extreme digital poverty to access crucial public information, be entertained, and remain connected to loved ones and their broader community.

“As proud members of the Broadcast 2040+ coalition, we are focused on protecting people who would be at risk of greater exclusion if online television became the only form of consumption. The principle of universality must be protected, and we urge Peers to use today’s debate to back the campaign’s calls to safeguard their future until 2040 and beyond.”

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has said that terrestrial TV and radio will remain accessible” for the foreseeable future” and vowed that “no one” should be left behind amid changing viewing habits.

Research on the future of TV in the UK, to inform long-term decisions on whether to extend the current commitment to keep Freeview on air beyond 2034 is ongoing, a spokesperson said.

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