At800 Starts London 4G Freeview Interference Tests

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

Follow on: Google +

Up to 170,000 households in southeast London are being asked to report any problems

Viewers in south-east London are being asked to report any disruption to their Freeview TV service after at800 began large scale tests in the area to see whether 4G at 800MHz will impact Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT).

Approximately 170,000 households and businesses in parts of Greenwich, Lewisham, Southwark and Tower Hamlets are to be directly contacted via post to alert them to the tests and to report any problems with reception once they begin on 15 April.

Any issues should be reported by calling 0333 31 31 800, along with the postcode of the address affected, the type of interference and the time it occurred. A team of professional area installers and testing units will be dispatched to restore Freeview service.

London 4G Freeview tests

4G © Shkanov Alexey Shutterstock 2012Residents in the boroughs affected by the 4G Freeview tests are advised that if they have not been directly contacted by at800, they are unlikely to be affected.

“These larger tests are essential to help improve our forecast model and the way we’ll tackle potential issues caused by 4G at 800 MHz,” said Simon Beresford-Wylie, chief executive of at800. “We are extremely grateful to viewers in south east London for their help with these important tests.”

DTT currently operates on the 700MHz spectrum, which could make it susceptible to interference when 4G services on the adjacent 800MHz airwaves go live later this year. EE, the UK’s only current 4G operator, uses 1800MHz bandwidth for its network, which does not impact DTT. However all four major UK carriers won 800MHz spectrum in the recent Ofcom auction of 4G spectrum.

At800 is the brand used by Digital Mobile Spectrum Ltd (DMSL), a joint-venture set up by the winners of the 800MHz spectrum to test and resolve any issues that might arise. However, smaller-scale tests in the West Midlands affected far fewer households than affected – just 15 out of a possible 22,000.

All issues that could be attributed to 4G were in TV systems with signal amplifiers and were either in communal blocks or domestic installations where an amplifier was attached to the aerial. The problems were resolved by the installation of a filter between the aerial and the amplifier.

Are you up to speed on 4G? Try our quiz!

Is your broadband up to speed? Try our Speed Test!