All homes reporting 4G Freeview interference will get free aerial installer visits as mobile operators focus on getting a faster response to fewer people.
AT800, the body set up to tackle 4G Freeview problems, said it’s confident no more than 90,000 homes across the UK will be affected, after initial fears problems would hit almost a million homes.
After five months of 4G operations, they’ve confirmed that only homes within 900 metres of a 4G mobile mast face Freeview interference, and few of those are reporting problems.
Ben Roome, AT800’s CEO, said: “We are changing the programme to provide better support for the people who are finding interference from 4G at 800MHz.
“If we believe that you have been affected by 4G when you phone us, we will send out an aerial installer to your home, and supply as many filters as you require.”
The new focus of AT800’s £180m budget – funded by 3, EE, O2 and Vodafone – will see a 10-day promise to restore Freeview reception for homes with their own TV aerial.
This will include a free visit from an accredited aerial installer to check the cause and fit an aerial filter – even if there’s no current 4G interference – and advice on fixing non-4G Freeview reception issues.
Viewers can also request their own filter to install, or additional filters for TVs around the house using portable aerials as well as a rooftop antenna.
Communal properties without a contracted aerial installer – like small blocks of flats or converted houses – will now be treated like other homes for receiving free filters and installer visits.
AT800 has already sent out around a million filters to UK homes which were predicted to face interference from 4G broadband, and arranged more than 4,000 installer visits.
The agency has handled more than 175,000 calls from viewers since it launched in October 2012, received over 15,000 web enquiries, and responded to 2,700 people on social media.
Both Vodafone and O2 have now launched 4G services on 800MHz in 15 locations, with EE and 3 yet to use their low-frequency spectrum.
The 800MHz signals may interfere with Freeview because government planners failed to ensure a safety gap between the mobile and TV spectrum several years ago.