One in six Banbury households will still lack high-speed broadband in 2040

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Broadcast 2040+, a campaign which aims to protect access to broadcast TV and radio, is highlighting worrying predictions laid out in a new report by EY*, that show 16% of premises in the Banbury and the wider South East will still not have high-speed broadband in 2040.

The report TV Distribution After 2034 predicts that take up of high-speed broadband will still leave 16% of premises without the service in 2040. This highlights a critical issue in accessibility, affordability and usage of broadband services in the region.

The report forecasts a concerning trend in broadband take-up in the South East, where the current take up is 76%. By 2035, it is expected to slightly increase to 83%, followed by a further minor increase to 84% by 2040, despite higher levels of coverage.

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The digital divide has significant implications, especially for vulnerable groups in the South East, such as the elderly, disabled individuals, rural communities, and low-income households. Nationally, the report says some 5.5 million UK premises will still be without a high-speed broadband subscription by 2040.

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The report also focuses on the barriers to broadband take-up, such as affordability and a lack of digital skills, particularly among older and disabled residents. Currently, 34% of people aged 65 and over in the region do not have internet access at home, and affordability issues affect a significant number of households.

In response to these findings, the Broadcast 2040+ campaign is advocating for the Government to extend the protection of traditional TV and radio services beyond the current 2034 cut-off year. This action is seen as crucial in guaranteeing that everyone, especially those in vulnerable groups, maintain access to essential information and entertainment.

Elizabeth Anderson, CEO of the Digital Poverty Alliance and part of the Broadcast 2040+ coalition said: “The Broadcast 2040+ campaign’s mission to safeguard the future of broadcast TV and radio is critical to helping bridge the digital divide that the UK faces. As today’s report makes clear, unless we protect these platforms, we risk putting 5.5 million households at greater risk of digital exclusion and the harms that this will cause. The government must take urgent and decisive action to ensure vulnerable people across the nation are protected and no one is left behind.”

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David Coulson, Partner, Economic Advisory at EY commented: “The EY study indicates that, despite widespread broadband coverage, universal access for all viewers should not be taken for granted. It is crucial those least likely to have high speed broadband in 2040 continue to have access to television, particularly vulnerable groups such as the elderly, disabled individuals, low-income households, and rural communities.”