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South London Freeview 4G fail test extended despite all-clear for Crystal Palace signals

London’s main Freeview transmitter looks clear from 4G interference but tests will continue to tease out trouble with the capital’s many relay masts.

Test broadcasts of 4G signals in west and south-east London brought no reports of interference to the main TV transmitter at Crystal Palace.

The south-east London trial will continue into mid-July to see if problems emerge for people using low-power Freeview relays like the Woolwich antenna.

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Read Recombu Digital’s guide to the 4G Freeview FailSimon Beresford-Wylie, chief executive of AT800, said: “London is a big and important market for 4G services and also has millions of Freeview viewers. 

“It was essential for the broadcasters and the mobile operators that we run trials in London before a rollout of 4G at 800 megahertz. 

“Whilst it seems unlikely that there will be issues for the vast majority of television viewers in the capital, we will remain alert to any possible interference when rollout commences.”

AT800.tv is a body funded by the UK mobile phone operators to overcome problems caused by poor planning which dumped 4G signals too close to Freeview.

Freeview relay wriggle room

South London Freeview 4G fail test extended despite all-clear for Crystal Palace signalsThe Crystal Palace transmitter used by the majority of Londoners was always an unlikely candidate for mass interference from 4G, because Freeview is separated by a healthy 220MHz gap.

An unknown number of Londoners use one of 54 Freeview relay sites to get Freeview because they can’t see Crystal Palace, and some of these transmit very close to 4G frequencies.

Woolwich, in the south-east London test zone, uses channel 60 (786MHz) – right next door to where 4G starts at 790MHz – but no problems were reported in the test last month.

Ofcom has allowed AT800.tv to run its 4G signals for another two months so that viewers have more time to come forward with problems.

An AT800 spokesman told Recombu Digital: “You can walk down the street and there are TV aerials pointing in different directions, but there’s no central database of who is using which antenna or what equipment.

“You may have a change in the weather and see problems that did not occur before, and we are doing a lot of work to make sure that people are aware of our assistance.”

AT800.tv doesn’t have any more 4G-Freeview trials planned after the current tests in south-east London and Brighton, where hilly terrain, full power 4G and Freeview signals close to 800MHz are already bringing reports of interference.

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