Outfit which will save your Freeview TV from 4G interference stands up
Hurray, 4G signal! Boo, the telly doesn't work! Call DMSL
The UK's mobile networks, in agreement with Ofcom and the Ministry of Fun, have set up a company to spend the £180m assigned to make sure that Freeview reception isn't knocked off the air by 4G.
Digital Mobile Spectrum Limited will fill the role described as "MitCo" (mitigation company) in the various consultations and discussions Ofcom has been having around the subject over the last year or so. The company will be joint-owned by the operators and chaired by one Andrew Pinder, who'll be responsible for spending the cash to mitigate interference issues, or, more accurately, he'll be responsible for trying to avoid spending the cash while still mitigating the interference.
The money will come from the 4G licenses which go up for auction early next year, and will be spent providing filters to households whose Freeview reception might be hit by 4G moving in next door - with up to £10,000 available to houses where filtering isn't good enough and Freesat isn't practical. But anyone expecting cheap cable will likely be disappointed as any left over cash goes back to the operators so Pinder will no doubt be motivated to spend it with care.
The cash is needed as LTE, the 4G technology of choice, will be snuggled up next to Freeview transmissions in some areas, and most Freeview boxes lack the fidelity to avoid picking the LTE signal up. In most cases a cheap filter can be put on the aerial cable, but if there's a booster involved - as there often is, to achieve a decent Freeview signal - then it can make cutting out the LTE signal impossible.
No one knows how bad the problem will be, though Ofcom's guess of two million homes seems to be the most respected figure - so Digital Mobile Spectrum Limited will have its work cut out.
The operators, Ofcom and the Secretary of State for Culture, Media & Sport (aka Fun) are all keen to tell us how they personally pushed through this agreement to get the 4G deployment rolling. In fact it's a long expected and necessary step on the winding road towards competing 4G networks, but very welcome none the less. ®
I'll believe the mobile companies will pay the whole bill when I see it. Come time they've got rid of the agreed cash, what's the betting the 4G profiteers leave it to the taxpayer to pick up the tab for any further interference? No doubt the corporate lackeys at Ofcom will be happy to lighten governmental wallet in the name of making the economy bigger / shareholders wealthier.
Apart from HD sexual gratification for Road Warriors, has anyone found a use for 4G yet?
What about areas where 4G rollout will be a long time coming?
I live in a small market town which remains gloriously unbathed in 3G signal. In fact, for some operators the only way to get any (even plain-old-gsm) indoor mobile reception is to use one of their picocell products. I fully expect us to be amongst the last places to get 4G coverage, if at all.
Our market town is also in the arse-end of nowhere in regard to TV reception. The nearest transmitter is a relay but it's invisible at my end of town due to a whole forest-worth of trees in between us and it, and the next nearest is 60 miles or so away. Hence the signal is very weak and requires mast-head amplification before it's usable at all. Even then, it's still unwatchable most evenings.
Satellite is also not an option, because the aforementioned trees are too tall to get a reliable view of the sky in the right spot. There are only a few places in town with this restriction, but it's real enough for a handful of us and we cannot really justify the massive fees requested by tree surgeons to correct it, with ongoing trimming required for the foreseeable future. Cable seems like a distant dream.
With all this in mind, is it likely that there will be any cash left in the pot for a solution for me if the 4G rollout causes me any problems? It's not likely to be apparent until well into the rollout, probably right at the end.
" LTE, ........ will be snuggled up next to Freeview"
Well, the W*nkers thought THAT through very carefully.
Re: What about areas where 4G rollout will be a long time coming?
LTE isn't anything like as good as Broadband, and most broadband unless Cable or Fibre isn't good enough for even one IPTV channel. What if you have 2 or 3 TVs?
Note that the "headline" speeds are for Zero Interference, perfect signal and only one user connecting. Typically in less than 2% of mast sector area. Add ten users in one place and you may not even be able to do Youtube.
Re: Is it just us?
It's nothing to do with rolling out digital TV. It's all about Ofcom's intention to roll out 4G on channels which have been freed up by digital TV rollout and which will, consequently, be in the range of TV tuners. If you still had analogue TV and there was a nearby 4G transmitter on a local frequency, it could saturate a masthead preamp as well. Contrary to the impression given by the article, the masthead preamps were also required in some locations for satisfactory analogue reception (albeit that some of the early digital TV rollout used reduced power so preamps were required as a stop-gap). Generally now, if you could get a satisfactory analogue picture without a preamp, the same should be true of digital.
The most satisfactory technical solution would be to install a masthead preamp that would respond only too the local Freeview channel frequencies. That way it would not saturate. Of course a filter stuck between the preamp and the aerial ought to do the job well enough if it is selective enoughl