Feeds

Digital Dividend could cost cable TV dear

EU to evaluate interference claims

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

The EU is to investigate claims that 4G mobile networks could knock out cable TV, if allowed to deploy in the "Digital Dividend" spectrum.

The European Union is to carry out laboratory tests to establish if a handset, or nearby base station, transmitting on the old analogue-TV frequencies now known as the Digital Dividend, can generate interference to cable TV transmissions - the cable companies being eager to reserve a slice of the dividend pie if they're going to have to update their kit.

The shift to Digital TV frees up a load of radio spectrum around 800MHz that governments around Europe, and the world, are eager to sell off - in the interests of providing quality services obviously. The billions added to the treasury would obviously be a mere byproduct.

No-one is quite sure what that spectrum will be used for, but most in the industry expect to see 4G technology, specifically LTE, filling a lot of it. Given that analogue TV will have been cleared out, there should be minimal interference concerns, but Cable TV transmissions use the same frequencies, albeit down a wire rather than through the air. Therefore the Cable industry is starting to think it might need some dividend dollars to pay for network upgrades.

Today's LTE networks (well, network, there's only one right now) are right up at 2.6GHz, well clear of TV signals, but after the auctions LTE is expected to spread rapidly down the dial.

Cable TV often uses the same frequencies as analogue TV: operators just push the signal down a wire rather than through the air. Early cable networks did exactly that, with the user simply plugging in a cable instead of an aerial. But the need for tiered packages and signal encryption has made things a little more complicated, though the transmission frequencies have largely remained the same. That puts cable right where analogue TV is today operated, and where LTE is expected to be tomorrow.

Interference from analogue TV transmissions is possible, but the relative signal strengths render the risks largely academic. But the cable industry believes an LTE handset sat beside an incoming coaxial cable poses more of a risk, and while they admit that no-one really knows, they don't want to be caught out. PolicyTracker reports that initial test results, received by the EU on December 8th, indicate the problem does exist, though the scale is still unknown.

Which is what's prompting the new round of EU tests, to establish if there really is a problem so that the parties involved can start arguing about who's going to provide the money to fix it. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Brit telcos warn Scots that voting Yes could lead to HEFTY bills
BT and Co: Independence vote likely to mean 'increased costs'
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
EE buys 58 Phones 4u stores for £2.5m after picking over carcass
Operator says it will safeguard 359 jobs, plans lick of paint
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Google+ GOING, GOING ... ? Newbie Gmailers no longer forced into mandatory ID slurp
Mountain View distances itself from lame 'network thingy'
Vodafone to buy 140 Phones 4u stores from stricken retailer
887 jobs 'preserved' in the process, says administrator PwC
Bonking with Apple has POUNDED mobe operators' wallets
... into submission. Weve squeals, ditches payment plans
Comcast exec: No, we haven't banned Tor. I use it. You're probably using it
Keep in mind if, say, your Onion browser craps out on Xfinity
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.