Broadcast is an enormously valued national asset for rural communities - National Rural Conference 2022 Feature Article

Broadcast TV and radio – content delivered through an aerial into people’s homes – is part of the fabric of our national life.

Watching and listening to our favourite shows together is something that binds us as families, as communities, and as a country. 

For all the new ways of watching content like streaming, broadcast services remain the backbone for many. A new Ipsos report commissioned by Arqiva found that over half of adults have watched Freeview in the past year, with 43% of these watching it every week*. 

These services are vital for viewers and listeners, and especially for people who live in rural areas, those who are lonely, older people, or those who are less well-off. These are groups who are least likely to have superfast broadband connection, the digital skills and confidence to use streaming apps, or the budget to afford subscription costs. 

The future of Broadcast will be decided in the coming years

On current plans, there is only certainty for the provision of TV and radio through an aerial until the early 2030s. That may feel like a long way away but on a topic like this, it is closer than you might think. This is because the provision of broadcast TV and radio is not a simple yes/no question. In reality, there are a number of upcoming policy decisions the UK must take if it wants to commit to broadcast services for the longer term.  

The first of these decisions will be taking place at the World Radiocommunications Conference (WRC23) next year. At this international conference, countries will decide how much spectrum – radio frequencies used for broadcasting – should be allocated to TV & radio and how much should be given to other technologies like 5G mobile services. There are also other decisions that could impact on the ongoing provision of broadcast services including those around funding models for the BBC, the next BBC Charter Period, and the future of Public Service Broadcasting. 

That’s why the Broadcast 2040+ campaign was launched

The same Ipsos report found that 85% of people in the UK believe Government and local MPs should be taking an active role now in protecting broadcast TV and radio*.  

With this in mind, Arqiva, the UK’s leading TV and radio infrastructure provider, has launched the Broadcast 2040+ campaign alongside the Rural Services Network as well as a coalition of other voices including groups such as the Voice of the Listener & Viewer, Age UK, and Silver Voices. Through this campaign, we are asking the Government to provide certainty and commit to preserving broadcast until 2040 and beyond.  

The work to preserve this critical national asset for those who depend on it – especially those in rural communities – starts now. 

If you’re interested in joining the campaign, we’d love to hear from you - please contact

*Ipsos (2022). The Importance of Digital Terrestrial Television and Broadcast Radio


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