Feeds

The fearful price of 4G data coverage: NO TELLY for 90,000 Brits

Could've been 2m, though. And hey, there's free kit to fix it

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Deployment of 4G mobile networks could take out TV broadcasts for 90,000 homes, rather than the two million which had been feared – but thousands of pounds is available for upgrades to affected homes.

That's according to at800, the organisation handed £180m to fix a problem which, it now admits, isn't nearly as bad as had been feared. At least, it's not nearly as bad for the primary TV sets for which at800 is responsible.

Secondary sets, in bedrooms and backrooms, often with rabbit-ear antennas or boosters, will have to take care of themselves. Once the 4G networks start operating (in the next few months) primary sets which lose signal are entitled to a free filter, a better aerial or even a satellite downlink to ensure they can get a decent picture.

It was feared there would be millions of such users, as the new 4G networks operate in a band which used to contain analogue TV signals. Most set-top boxes can distinguish these without difficulty, but the concern was that older boxes and boosters would amplify the interfering 4G transmissions, along with the desired Freeview signal.

Boosters aren't regulated, so no-one knows how many are in use or how good they are. Lab testing suggested that two million homes might lose Freeview reception when 4G was switched on, and given the UK's reliance on free-to-air TV that wasn't acceptable.

So the operators stumped up £180m between them, and set up Digital Mobile Spectrum Limited. DMSL promptly rebranded itself "at800" and started buying huge stocks of filters it expected to need once the interference kicked in.

But testing in Brighton, London and around Dudley proved that Freeview decoders are surprisingly resilient, and boosters less common than anticipated, prompting at800 to revise their estimate downwards to 90,000 homes affected.

That gives at800 two grand per household to ensure Freeview arrives without problem, which should prove sufficient. The cap, for any home, is ten grand, but that was never likely to happen; Freesat reaches just about everywhere and costs a good deal less than that.

Cash left over goes back to the operators, so there's some incentive to keep expenses down. That mountain of filters will still need to be posted out to someone, though, if at800 isn't going to look foolish for having bought so many. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
UK fuzz want PINCODES on ALL mobile phones
Met Police calls for mandatory passwords on all new mobes
Canadian ISP Shaw falls over with 'routing' sickness
How sure are you of cloud computing now?
Don't call it throttling: Ericsson 'priority' tech gives users their own slice of spectrum
Actually it's a nifty trick - at least you'll pay for what you get
Three floats Jolla in Hong Kong: Says Sailfish is '3rd option'
Network throws hat into ring with Linux-powered handsets
Fifteen zero days found in hacker router comp romp
Four routers rooted in SOHOpelessly Broken challenge
New Sprint CEO says he will lower axe on staff – but prices come first
'Very disruptive' new rates to be revealed next week
US TV stations bowl sueball directly at FCC's spectrum mega-sale
Broadcasters upset about coverage and cost as they shift up and down the dials
Trans-Pacific: Google spaffs cash on FAST undersea packet-flinging
One of 6 backers for new 60 Tbps cable to hook US to Japan
Tech city types developing 'Google Glass for the blind' app
An app and service where other people 'see' for you
UK mobile coverage is BETTER than EVER, networks tell Ofcom
Regulator swallows this line and parrots it back out at us. What are they playing at?
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
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.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
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.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.