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German cable operators told to tighten up

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A German court has ruled that any interference to cable TV services is the cable operator's problem, and can't be used to delay the Digital Dividend auctions in the country.

The Cologne Administrative Court rejected an action brought by Kabel Baden-Wuerttemberg which sought to delay the auction. The cable operator claimed LTE services deployed around 800MHz could interfere with cable TV operations, but the judge responded that it was up to the operator to ensure that no interference occurred.

The potential for LTE signals to interfere with cable TV is under investigation within the EU and has been demonstrated in laboratory conditions, though the real-world impact is unknown. Cable operators often use the same frequencies as analogue TV did, only stuffed down a cable rather than sent through the air. The robust nature of both signals prevented any interference despite the cable operator's notoriously leaky infrastructure.

But with Vodafone, Telefonica and Deutsch Telekom (all of whom are committed to LTE technology) already signed up to bid, it's not going to be long before LTE services start filling those airwaves.

Which is what's got the cable operators concerned - interference could force them to shift frequencies or harden their kit to prevent the interference, and they'd like to hold the auction until that's been assessed.

But the ruling makes that unlikely, much to the delight of local amateurs who are hoping that the hardening will also clear up leaks around 145MHz which have been annoying them for years. ®

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