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4G threat to Freeview TV not as bad as expected, test shows

Only 15 homes from an area of 22,000 affected
Fri Apr 05 2013, 10:31
Mobile spectrum antenna

THE FIRST TESTS to find out if the switch to 4G in the UK will interfere with Freeview TV signals has found that only 15 homes from an area of 22,000 in the West Midlands reported disruption.

The tests, which were conducted by At800 - an operator that offers corrective support to customers suffering 4G interference - started back in March and predicted that 120 homes would be affected by the issue.

However, the test shows that things aren't as bad as originally expected, as the number was far lower.

"Over 100 calls were logged by at800 from these households. Professional aerial installers, as well as TV signal experts from at800, the BBC and Ofcom, visited locations that reported problems to verify their cause," At800 said.

Among the issues that could be attributed to 4G on an 800MHz signal were television systems with signal amplifiers, At800 said. These were in communal blocks or domestic installations where the amplifier was attached to the aerial.

At800 fitted a filter that blocks 4G signals at 800MHz for the households experiencing the problems. The filter does not affect the use of mobile phones.

Any homes affected will be given filters that cost anywhere between £20 and £150. This has lead mobile operators to put aside funding to the tune of £180m to tackle the issue.

"Further extensive evaluation will occur during April and May as masts are switched on for tests across larger urban areas," said At800 CEO Simon Beresford-Wylie.

At800's preparations for the commercial rollout of 4G will see the firm conduct a second phase of testing. This will focus on urban areas covering a larger number of addresses, At800 said, though we're not sure when it will take place. µ


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