New 4G signal could cause TV blackout for 2.3 million households

Rebecca Rutt
by Lovemoney Staff Rebecca Rutt on 12 February 2013  |  Comments 4 comments

As the super-fast 4G network is rolled out, TV signals across the country could be about to conk out.

New 4G signal could cause TV blackout for 2.3 million households

The 4G network, which is being rolled out this year to increase internet speeds, could cause TV signal problems for 2.3million households. That's 10% of the population.

It will be rolled out from May 2013 and will mainly affect TVs close to 4G mobile base stations and those a long way from a TV transmitter.

To cope with the problem, a new company has been set up with £180 million raised from the 4G network auction.

The 4G blackout

Fourth Generation, or 4G, internet is a super-fast broadband which will provide internet services up to five times faster than the current 3G network.

But the problem is it’s likely to interfere with existing TV signals because it works on the radio spectrum which was originally used for 2G networks. This network, also known as 800MHZ, uses a very close frequency to the Freeview network. This means some Freeview customers will notice signal problems, but those with cable or satellite won't notice a difference.

Those households which use Freeview as their primary TV source, (around 900,000 households) will be able to get free help from the Digital Mobile Spectrum Limited (DMSL) company.

It will contact people who are likely to be affected and give advice about how to avoid any problems. This includes giving out free filters for those households who are likely to experience problems.

These should stop any interference, but they won’t work on all TVs. In these instances customers will be offered alternative ways to watch TV, such as being moved to an alternative satellite or cable platform for free.  

The 4G roll-out

Everything Everywhere (EE) is the only operator with the right to offer customers the 4G network but other providers are currently bidding for licences.

Once these are approved, 4G will be rolled out across the country, with the aim of offering broadband speeds which are much faster than the current rate. This should begin in May and could take between three and five years.

More information can be found on the website AT800 (run by DMSL).

More on 4G

Everything Everywhere launches cheaper 4G mobile broadband deals

The cheapest Blackberry Z10 smartphone pay monthly tariffs

Three to offer 4G at no extra cost

Vodafone launches rival 4G campaign

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Comments (4)

  • electricblue
    Love rating 769
    electricblue said

    'The greed of governments' ? That's US, the UK taxpayers. Phone providers have to give solutions to the Freeview problems and the money they paid went into the national pot. They don't divvy it all up between MP's.....

    It's really another non-story which has been well covered in the press many times.

    Report on 12 February 2013  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • tuttogallo
    Love rating 99
    tuttogallo said

    The service on freeview is already very poor. Having had every possible upgrade (longer pole, bigger ariel new booster), the only thing the technician could suggest was to ask a neighbour to cut his trees down!

    We were told that digital television would be better. They lied. Quality has been sacrificed, so that HMG would have more channels to sell. The result is that freeview only works really well when nothing much is moving (e.g. the news) when there is lots of movement the picture breaks up. Also when there is a problem with the signal, digital just stops working, whereas analogue degraded gracefully.

    I recently purchased high definition equipment. I was watching football and noticed that an end to end pass of the ball moves as a series of jerks. They STILL haven't got it right.

    No wonder users don't want to switch to digital radio. After the Freeview experience: Thanks but No Thanks.

    Report on 17 February 2013  |  Love thisLove  0 loves

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