One in five households in Yorkshire and the Humber will still lack high-speed broadband in 2040

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 20 per cent of premises in Yorkshire and the Humber will still not have high-speed broadband in 2040.
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The report TV Distribution After 2034 predicts that take up of high-speed broadband will still leave 20 per cent 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 Yorkshire and the Humber, where current take up is 70 per cent. By 2035, it is expected to slightly increase to 78 per cent, followed by a further minor increase to 80 per cent by 2040, despite higher levels of coverage.

Yorkshire and the Humber is expected to be among the worst affected regions by the low broadband take-up, alongside the North East and Northern Ireland.

A family enjoys TV togetherA family enjoys TV together
A family enjoys TV together

The digital divide has significant implications, especially for vulnerable groups in Yorkshire and the Humber, 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.

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 per cent 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.

Neil Bradbury, Chief Executive of Age UK North Yorkshire Coast and Moors, said: “As the CEO of a charity dedicated to the welfare of older people, I know the role broadcast services play in the lives of those we support. For many, broadcast television and radio are their lifeline. If these services were cut and the only alternative was broadband-based services, you would be hitting the most vulnerable in society.

“EY’s report findings make clear the need for government to extend protections for traditional broadcast services well beyond the early 2030s. If not we would create a digital divide that would isolate millions of older and vulnerable people from the essential services they rely on.

“This report underscores the need for a comprehensive strategy that addresses not just the physical infrastructure of broadband but also the barriers to its adoption. We need action to fund the cost of digital access and to help people use it.

“Protecting traditional TV and radio services until 2040 and beyond is not about resisting change; it's about ensuring that we look after the people who rely on it and not forget those for whom the digital age remains out of reach. It's time for a concerted effort to bridge the gap, safeguarding access to broadcast services as a lifeline for the most vulnerable among us.”