at800 is revising its approach to improve its support for UK viewers of Freeview services. The company is committing to quicker response and resolution times, aerial installer home visits for affected viewers, and additional support for properties using a communal aerial (such as flats). These changes are expected to help at800 better meet its objective of ensuring people can still watch Freeview when 4G mobile services at 800 MHz are activated in their area.
Five months after the launch of mobile services using 4G at 800 MHz, at800 is confident that disruption to Freeview will be less widespread than initially estimated. It is therefore able to refocus its resources to better serve those viewers who are affected by the activation of new 4G masts in their area.
Viewers will benefit from the following:
- Quicker response and resolution times: If a viewer lives in a house with its own aerial, their primary means of watching TV is Freeview and 4G is diagnosed as the cause of Freeview disruption, at800 will restore the service to its previous quality within ten working days (previously 15 working days).
- Aerial installer home visits for affected viewers: If at800 believes disruption to Freeview is due to 4G at 800 MHz, it will arrange for an accredited installer to visit the viewer’s home, check the cause and fit an approved filter to the TV system, at no cost to the viewer. Alternatively, such viewers can choose to be sent an approved filter to fit themselves. Additional filters can be provided if required.
- Additional support for properties using a communal aerial: For properties with a contracted aerial installer, at800 will continue to provide filters free of charge. For those without a contracted aerial installer, or if the contracted installer needs some help, at800 will provide technical advice and assistance. In certain cases, at800 may be able to assist with the installation of a communal filter.
The revised approach from at800 has been fully endorsed by the 4G/TV Co-existence Oversight Board, which represents consumers, broadcasters, mobile operators, Ofcom and the Department for Culture Media and Sport (DCMS).
Ben Roome, CEO of at800 said, “We’ve used evidence gathered over the past ten months to assess how best to support viewers whose TV is affected by 4G at 800 MHz. The changes we’re announcing today will help us provide a better, more effective service.”
To date, at800 has handled more than 175,000 calls from viewers; received over 15,000 web enquiries; and responded to 2,700 people on social media. For viewers experiencing disruption to Freeview that is not due to 4G at 800 MHz, at800 provides advice on potential causes and directs viewers to organisations that may be able to help such as Digital UK and the BBC.
Full details of at800’s revised approach and what this means for viewers can be seen in its amended Code of Service, available [here].
About at800, 4G and Freeview
at800 is the consumer brand of Digital Mobile Spectrum Ltd. (DMSL). It is an independent organisation created to ensure that all UK viewers continue to receive Freeview, or are offered a suitable alterative, when 4G at 800 MHz is activated in their area. at800 is funded by the UK mobile operators licensed to offer 4G mobile services at 800 MHz: 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.
Both 4G mobile services and digital TV use parts of the radio spectrum – that is bands of frequencies – to reach us. The 800 MHz frequencies used by some 4G services are next to the frequencies used for Freeview. TVs and set-top boxes that receive Freeview may have the TV service blocked by these 4G signals; there is a very small chance that this may cause disruption to Freeview services. Typical issues include loss of sound, blocky images or loss of some or all Freeview channels. Satellite and cable TV services are very unlikely to be affected by 4G at 800 MHz. 4G services from EE run over 1800 MHz airwaves and do not affect TV reception.
at800 contacts households it predicts may be affected by this issue before 4G at 800 MHz is switched on in their area. It also writes to businesses, councils, social housing departments, care homes, hospitals, schools and universities to advise what action needs to be taken.
Tel: +44 (0) 7539 231 897