We’ve already reported on the testing being undertaken by at800 here in the UK. The networks have given them a stack of cash in order to find out the answer to one key question.
Will 4G signals at 800MHz ruin our enjoyment of Loose Women, Dickinson’s Real Deal and Countdown?
Well, the testing has gone well so far and, based on those numbers getting scaled up, they now estimated that no more than 90,000 households across the UK will see their enjoyment of Emmerdale getting ruined
The testing is needed because, until pretty recently, the frequency was used for analogue TV and there’s an unknown quantity of boosters and other equipment which could cause problems.
6 June 2013
at800 updates estimate of likely impact of 4G at 800 MHz on Freeview
Now contacting addresses ahead of mast activation in coming weeks and months
Following tests conducted across the country, at800, the organisation responsible for protecting Freeview when 4G at 800 MHz is rolled out across the UK, has provided a new estimate of the likely scale of the impact.* If national rollout reflects the results seen during its tests, at800 expects no more than 90,000 households, with Freeview as their primary TV service, to experience disruption caused by 4G at 800 MHz.** Whatever the level of disruption, at800 is ready to restore Freeview to viewers.
at800 has now sent postcards to households in London and the surrounding areas in preparation for the activation of 4G at 800 MHz masts over the coming weeks and months. at800 is also sending postcards to other areas of the UK ahead of masts switching on. at800’s mailing does not mean that 4G services will be available to consumers. For information about the availability of 4G services, people should contact their mobile operators.
In London, in particular, Freeview received from the Crystal Palace transmitter is unlikely to be affected by mast activation because of the strong terrestrial television signal and its relatively large frequency separation from 4G at 800 MHz. However, at800 is sending postcards and running a publicity campaign to ensure anyone who does experience new disruption to their Freeview service knows how to get in touch.
More information for households receiving a postcard from at800 can be found here.
Only new 4G services at 800 MHz could cause problems with Freeview; existing 4G services from EE operate at 1800 MHz and do not disrupt television reception.
at800 is the consumer brand of Digital Mobile Spectrum Limited (DMSL), the organisation responsible for ensuring people continue to receive free-to-air television when 4G mobile services operating at 800 MHz are launched. The organisation is funded by the UK mobile operators with 800 MHz spectrum allocations to provide 4G services – EE, Telefónica UK (O2), Three and Vodafone.
*4G enables mobile devices such as smartphones, laptops and tablet PCs to access the internet at super-fast speeds and is expected to bring innovations in business, entertainment, education and public services. 4G mobile services at 800 MHz and digital TV operate in adjacent parts of the radio spectrum. Equipment that receives television signals, such as aerials, amplifiers and digital tuners, can fail to block 4G at 800 MHz. This can cause loss of sound, blocky images or loss of some or all Freeview channels. Freeview is the television that viewers receive through their aerial. BT Vision, YouView, TalkTalk and Top Up TV also provide Freeview services. Satellite and cable TV services are unlikely to be affected by 4G at 800 MHz.
at800 will contact those households it predicts may be affected by this issue before 4G at 800 MHz is switched on in their area. It will also contact businesses, social housing departments, care homes, hospitals, schools and colleges to advise what actions need to be taken.
** This figure also corresponds to less than 1% of households with Freeview as their primary TV service, according to the latest viewer figures from Freeview: http://www.freeview.co.uk/articles/about-us/press-releases/freeview-homes-surpass-11-million-as-bbc-two-hd-launches-on-freeviews-hd-service-today.html