At least that’s what broadcasters are saying. 4G networks using the 800MHz band will butt right-up against the Freeview bands, creating serious interference for anyone living within 2km of a 4G mast. That could put up to 2.3 million homes in a TV black spot including yours, and what the hell are we going to do without TV?
Of course Ofcom is aware of the issue, but according to the broadcasters, including the BBC and ITV, the £180 million set aside for tackling the TV blackout isn’t nearly enough. They’re urging the government to divert some of the estimated £2 to £3 billion it’ll make from the 4G auction to help solve interference issues.
Apparently you’ll have to strap-on a filter to your TV aerial to block out the interference, which is estimated to cost the British public in excess of £161m. The current scheme sees only the over-75s and disabled getting free installation of these filters, meaning the rest of us will have to foot the bill ourselves.
I’m keen to get 4G rolled out as quickly as possible in the UK – we’re already miles behind our US and European cousins – but wiping out Freeview isn’t exactly the best of side effects. Let’s hope they can get it fixed, and that Ofcom gets more money to solve the problems and give us all filters, if that’s what it takes. If not we might have to rely on streaming TV over our new blazing LTE connections, or plunk for FreeSat, Sky or Virgin I guess. [Guardian]
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