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Freeview 4G Fail tests to hit South London TV viewers – UPDATED

Around 170,000 homes and businesses in South East London could face disruption to their Freeview signal as tests continue on the effect of 4G mobile broadband on TV.

As predicted by Recombu Digital last week, from April 15 some Londoners will become guinea pigs in the second round of experiments to see how Freeview and 4G get along at 800MHz.

Last month’s small test with just 22,000 Midlands homes found just 15 were affected, but the test in Greenwich, Lewisham, Southwark and Tower Hamlets should tease out more information.

Freeview 4G Fail tests to hit South London TV viewers
A Televes At800 4G Freeview filter

Read more about the 4G Freeview FailThe experiments are being run by At800, the organisation formed by mobile phone operators to tackle the problems their 4G services at 800MHz could cause.

Simon Beresford-Wylie, chief executive of At800, said: “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.

“We are extremely grateful to viewers in south east London for their help with these important tests.”

While the first test was run over a short period, the second will run until At800 has all the information it needs.

“We left it open-ended as we need to run tests under different scenarios and where we feel we have gathered appropriate amounts of information during different viewing scenarios and loading the network under different conditions,” a spokesman said.

“In addition, we phase in the masts and want to build to get a better picture of the interaction between them, particularly at addresses that may be located close to two or more base stations. We’re trying to assess the issue in as ‘real’ a setting as possible.”

All four of the UK’s mobile network operators have won frequencies in the 800MHz band, which are great for rural and in-building coverage, but uncomfortably close to Freeview in some places.

All of the homes and businesses which could be affected by At800’s test are being contacted directly, and engineers will respond personally to reported problems so they can restore Freeview.

The test will only affect homes receiving TV via their aerial, not a satellite dish or Virgin Media cable, and affected homes will most likely be given a compact aerial filter to block 4G frequencies.

Following some of the comments below, at looks like some people have got their information from the Daily Mail (or worse, the Daily Express). At800 is funded by mobile phone operators – not the goverment or our taxes – and the potential for spending £10,000 per house is only in worst case scenarios where neither Freesat nor Virgin Media is a workable alternative. That’s likely to be a very small number.

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