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West Midlands Freeview homes become 4G interference guinea pigs

Freeview homes in the West Midlands have unwittingly become test subjects for interference from 4G mobile broadband signals.

Engineers from AT800.tv – set up to fix problems caused by the 4G Freeview Fail – is beaming 4G test signals from transmitters in Cradley Heath and Rowley Regis in the Black Country.

Local residents have been contacted, and viewers who notice interference to Freeview between now and April 1, 2013, are being asked to report it to AT800 on 0333 31 31 800.

West Midlands Freeview homes become 4G interference guinea pigs
4G tests could send Black Country Freeview from bostin’ to busted

Read more about the 4G Freeview FailSimon Beresford-Wylie, AT800’s chief executive, said: “I’m delighted that just two weeks after the license awards, we are already in a strong position and about to begin our first pilot.  

“This is an important phase and will give us a clearer picture of how many people are likely to be affected.  We’ll do our best to ensure minimum disruption to viewers in the area as we gather the information we need.”

Problems may arise because frequency planners failed to allow a large enough gap between the lowest end of 800MHz 4G signals and the highest end of 700MHz Freeview broadcasts.

AT800 is funded by the mobile phone operators as a condition of their new 800MHz 4G licences, and hopes to fix most problems using cheap aerial filters which will be sent out free to homes, but not businesses.

There’s no guarantee, however, because no-one – anywhere in Europe – ran any tests to measure the potential interference before deciding to launch 4G services.

Five manufacturers – Filtronic, Link Microtek, Philex, Radio Design and Televes – will produce approved filters which will be branded with the AT800.tv logo.

The new 4G signals will not affect cable and satellite TV services.

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