There is a strong possibility of an impending disruption of Freeview TV as 4G rolls out across the UK.
4G is the next generation of “super-speed” mobile phone networks. EE has already offered the first 4G contracts, with the other main three UK service operators-Vodafone, O2 and 3- set to launch their own services later.
Communication experts believe that the new signals might interfere with those used to broadcast Freeview TV. EE uses a 1800 MHz 4G signal which puts it well clear of the band used for Freeview’s 700 MHz; but the other providers will be launching on an 800 MHz frequency. The close proximity of these signals could rob TV signals of sound, pictures, or even a complete service. Ofcom has estimated that up to two million households could have their TV signal interrupted or even lost entirely as new 4G networks are switched on in the future.
A source speaking to The Telegraph said, “From July, London is going to start to light up. By the end of the year there could be thousands of masts carrying 4G. The broadcasters in particular are getting very jittery about this.”
At800, an industry-funded body responsible for the launch’s smooth-running, has sent out postcards to homes across the London area, warning about the disruptions but stating that only a “small minority” of households will be affected.
“We are scaled up for anticipated problems,” said at800 spokesman Ben Roome, “But so far in tests in south-east London, although we have received calls from lots of households, any problems they have been having their television has not been caused by interference from 4G.” at800 also admitted to ordering a “few million” filters that can be fitted to televisions to safeguard signals, as well as hiring new engineers and call centre staff.
After the launch in London, other tests will be carried out by at800 in Brighton and York as 4G will continue to be rolled out across the UK.
However, EE plans to extend its services to 55 % of the population across 80 locations by the end of June 2013.
The communications industry believes that the new, fast 4G services will transform mobile users ability to access the internet, apps and services at speeds only dreamed about in years gone by.
But at what cost? The downfall of TV? Is that such a big issue?
Stay tuned…if you can…
[Image courtesy of techweekeurope]