Parts of the South Hams could be stuck on the digital slow-lane for the forseeable future.

One in six households in the South West will still lack high-speed broadband by 2040 according to new research.

Broadcast 2040+, a campaign which aims to protect access to broadcast TV and radio, is highlighting predictions laid out in a new report by EY*, that show 17 per cent of premises in the South West will still not have high-speed broadband in 2040.

The reportwhich is called “TV Distribution After 2034” predicts that take up of high-speed broadband will still leave 17 per cent of premises without the service in 2040.

This highlights a critical issue in accessibility, affordability and use of broadband services in the region.

The report forecasts a concerning trend in broadband take-up in the South West with the current take up being 69 per cent.

By 2035, it is expected to slightly increase to 81 per cent, followed by a further minor increase to 83 per cent by 2040, despite higher levels of coverage.

The digital divide affects many people especially vulnerable groups in the region, such as the elderly, disabled individuals, rural communities, and low-income households.

Young people are also affected as they need broadband for their studies. 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.