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Govt warns 4G may make Freeview UNWATCHABLE

Frequency, Uncertainty and Doubt

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Britain's 4G mobile phone networks will mess up Freeview reception for rather a lot of folk, it has has been claimed.

The notion is that 4G will operate on a frequency very close to the UHF bands currently hosting analogue and digital TV transmission.

The UHF TV band runs from 471.25MHz up to 847.25MHz. That pushes it into the 800MHz band, one of the zones set aside for 4G. UHF Channels 63 and up are all in the 800MHz band.

Of course, by the time the UK gets a half-decent 4G network, the digital switchover will be long complete and, hopefully, Freeview transmissions will be pumped out with a stronger signal strength than they have been thus far.

And once the switchover is complete, channels 63 and up will not be used for TV transmissions. Still, Channel 62 - at 799.25MHz - will be used by dozens of transmitters across the UK.

Mobile networks will be keen to grab the 800MHz band because it has a greater range and is more able to get into buildings than higher frequency bands - it's the bigger wavelength of the lower frequency, you see - so it offers the potential for greater coverage for less money.

Some householders will need a filter fitted to their aerial in order to block out the interference from nearby 800MHz 4G base-stations. The government reckons 900,000 homes will need filters, the BBC reports, though Ofcom has said only 760,000 will be affected.

If you're too close to a base-station, you may even need to abandon Freeview entirely in favour of Freesat, Sky or Virgin, finger-waggers warned.

Fortunately, Ofcom has said the cost of installing filters and alternative pick-ups will be met by whoever wins the 800MHz 4G licence, due to be put up for auction later this year. ®

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