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4G mobile signal disrupts Freeview in thousands of homes

Thursday, May 7th 2015 by Phil Wilkinson-Jones

The rollout of 4G mobile services has disrupted TV viewing for more than 5,000 Freeview customers in the past two years.

4G masts first started transmitting at the 800MHz frequency two years ago, with Ofcom predicting it would disrupt millions of Freeview boxes.

That number has since been scaled down to less than 90,000, but the organisation dealing with the issue – at800 – insists it is a very real problem.

Its engineers have visited more than 15,000 UK homes and found more than 5,800 confirmed cases of ‘4G disruption’.

They have also supplied more than a million free filters, designed to block 4G at 800Mhz signals.

Of those Freeview viewers helped in the past 12 months, nine out of 10 rated the support they received from at800 as ‘excellent’.

Ben Roome, at800’s CEO, said: “We’ve consistently beaten the performance requirements agreed with our oversight board and Ofcom.

“We’ve also made a number of changes over the last two years to improve our support.

“We ensure viewers who rely on Freeview for TV can do so as 4G at 800 MHz expands across the UK.”

'Huge part of daily life'

The most common causes of poor digital television reception are unnecessary or faulty television signal amplifiers.

Sometimes this is due to system damage, such as water getting into amplifiers attached to rooftop aerials, but often amplifiers are being used when they are not required.

“We never forget that Freeview continues to be the most used media platform in the UK – ahead of satellite cable and online for TV as well as other types of media such as print and radio,” said Mr Roome.

“It is a huge part of daily life in 19m households across the country, with 11m households relying on it for their TV.

“We focus on resolving problems as quickly as possible and know from our survey results that customer satisfaction is high.”

The company’s goal is to provide the best support by drawing on the technical expertise and experience accrued by its engineers and auditors from household visits, and at its contact centre providing support and initial diagnosis.

The programme will continue to support Freeview viewers as 4G networks continue to be rolled out across the UK.

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