at800 today announced the results of its recent trials in south east and west London. It revealed that there were no confirmed Freeview problems as a result of the 4G at 800 MHz testing. at800 is the organisation tasked with ensuring viewers continue to receive Freeview when 4G at 800 MHz is rolled out across the UK.*
The results reflect the fact that there is a very strong digital terrestrial television signal in London, and that this is transmitted at frequencies clearly separated from the frequencies on which new 4G at 800 MHz mobile services will be carried.** Similar results could be expected in other areas of the UK with the same characteristics.
Simon Beresford-Wylie, chief executive of at800, said, “London is a big and important market for 4G services and also has millions of Freeview viewers. Clearly it was essential for the broadcasters and the mobile operators that we run trials in London before a rollout of 4G at 800 megahertz. Whilst it seems unlikely that there will be issues for the vast majority of television viewers in the capital, we will remain alert to any possible interference when rollout commences.”
at800 is now running a further trial in Brighton where Freeview is transmitted at frequencies much closer to those used for new 4G at 800 MHz services. Brighton is also hilly, allowing the impact of more varied terrain on the coexistence of television and 4G at 800 MHz to be examined. These factors make it a good location for a pilot to provide data that at800 can use to help improve its forecast model and inform the way it tackles the issue in areas where similar factors apply.
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.
Download a PDF copy of this release – Low Risk to Freeview in London from 4G at 800 MHz
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. Digital TV and 4G mobile services at 800 MHz 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 action needs to be taken.
As part of its commitment to the issue, £20 million of at800’s funding is set aside to provide additional support to the elderly and those with a disability. This includes managing arrangements for a home visit service, with local people available to help fit free at800 filters that are designed to block 4G at 800 MHz, and address any issues with Freeview caused by the rollout.
** Freeview is carried on different frequencies in different parts of the country in a range between 470 and 790 MHz. The highest frequency at which Freeview signals are transmitted from Crystal Palace is 540 MHz, while the new 4G at 800 MHz signals begin at 791 MHz. In addition, the high signal strength from Crystal Palace makes aerial amplifiers less likely to be needed. Amplifiers can cause problems by boosting 4G at 800 MHz and causing signal overload in television equipment. In Brighton, Freeview is carried on frequencies up to 790 MHz.
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