Feeds

So you won a 4G licence. The Freeview interference squad wants a word

Next-gen mobe broadband threat to 2 MILLION tellies

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

The team to turn to when high-speed mobile broadband knocks out your Freeview signal has kicked off negotiations with this week's 4G auction winners. It's hoped that Brits will get four weeks of notice before up to two million TV screens go dark.

The recently established body managing interference from new 4G services is called Digital Mobile Spectrum Limited (DMSL), and it now has a shiny website with a new logo. It also prefers to be known as AT800. Under that name it undertakes to contact every home at risk of losing Freeview reception at lest four weeks ahead of time, and provide mitigation to those who want it.

The new 4G licences, auctioned off earlier this week, occupy the space where analogue TV used to be, adjacent to Freeview's digital transmissions. In most cases that won't be an issue: the leakage from 4G into Freeview will be minimal, but where the viewer is receiving a weak Freeview signal, and using a cheap signal booster, then the effect of boosting both will knock out Freeview reception.

AT800 is funded by an £180m charge tacked onto* the 4G auction's £2.3bn revenue, most of which will go on filters fitted in homes to remove the 4G signal before boosting. But the filter has to go between the ariel and the booster, and where that's impossible (such as both being within the roof of a block of flats) then AT800 has the authority to spend up to £10,000 per household ensuring they get some sort of free-to-view TV service.

No one knows quite how big the problem will be nor where it's going to happen. Right now we don't even know which of the auction winners will be most likely to interfere - the amount of spectrum has been decided, but exactly which bands will be used is still being negotiated, and the interference issue will play a significant part in those negotiations.

The operators could probably make the problem disappear by fitting better filters on their base stations, and they'll get any left over cash as a motivator for installing that kit, once the shiny logo, website, letters, home filters and so forth have been paid for.

The big issue is that no one knows how much this is going to matter. Ofcom's original estimate was 760,000 houses impacted, and 30,000 losing Freeview entirely, but set-top boxes have improved since then and AT800 is keeping busy testing lots of gear and talking to the operators about roll-out plans.

We do know that Channel 60 will be the Freeview frequency most affected, and UK Free.tv has a useful map showing which Freeeview transmitters are using that slot, but until the networks start deploying we won't know how bad the problem is, or if £180m will be enough to fix it. ®

* AT800 has been in touch to point out that, in a late change to the 4G licence process, its funding was tacked onto the auction prices, so the £180m spending pot will be collected from winning mobile telcos in addition to the £2.3bn in 4G licences.

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
Mozilla's 'Tiles' ads debut in new Firefox nightlies
You can try turning them off and on again
No, thank you. I will not code for the Caliphate
Some assignments, even the Bongster decline must
Banking apps: Handy, can grab all your money... and RIDDLED with coding flaws
Yep, that one place you'd hoped you wouldn't find 'em
TROLL SLAYER Google grabs $1.3 MEEELLION in patent counter-suit
Chocolate Factory hits back at firm for suing customers
Kaspersky backpedals on 'done nothing wrong, nothing to fear' blather
Founder (and internet passport fan) now says privacy is precious
Primetime precrime? Minority Report TV series 'being developed'
I have to know. I have to find out what happened to my life
Ex-IBM CEO John Akers dies at 79
An era disrupted by the advent of the PC
prev story

Whitepapers

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup
Learn why inSync received the highest overall rating from Druva and is the top choice for the mobile workforce.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.