4G not a problem for Freeview

Or certainly far less of an issue than was initially thought
Darren Allan

April 5, 2013
Freeview HD

Those who tune into Freeview for their TV needs will doubtless be pleased to hear that the much talked about interference from 4G isn’t going to be nearly as big an issue as was first thought.

At least according to a preliminary study conducted in the West Midlands.

Last spring, the worry was that 4G LTE mobile broadband (800MHz) services going live in the UK would interfere with the broadcast spectrum of Freeview, and hence some viewers’ reception. Some 2 million would be potentially afflicted, it was thought, particularly those using signal amplifiers and/or communal aerials.

The study, conducted by at800, involved 22,000 homes in the Cradley Heath and Rowley Regis areas.

It was expected that 120 households would have problems caused by the test 4G signals, but as it happened, just 15 suffered reception difficulties (actually there were 100 reported issues, but all were checked out by the firm’s aerial experts, and only 15 were down to the 4G).

All 15 of these were TVs which used a signal amplifier, and the problem was resolved by fitting a filter.

So this study suggests that roughly only an eighth of the homes initially thought to need these filters, will actually need them.

But of course, this was a small sample number, and we’ll have to wait for further, larger scale testing before we get a better idea of numbers. Still, it’s a promising early result and might mean a lot less hassle for a lot less Freeview folks, with any luck.

At800 intends to continue further testing shortly. Simon Beresford-Wylie, CEO, said: “Further extensive evaluation will occur during April and May as masts are switched on for tests across larger urban areas.”


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