Andrew leads our Operational Team and is our expert when it comes to all the ins and outs of car hire excess insurance.
When Ofcom was assigning frequencies for the 4G auction, they knew there would be some issues with some of the wavebands. The higher 2.6GHz frequencies, good for large quantities of data, less good at distance work were a bit close for comfort to the 2.7GHz bands used by the radar of the national air traffic control organisation NATS leading to potential interference.
You'll be pleased to learn that NATS has checked and upgraded it's radar stations where necessary and has completed it's 4G compliance program.
What's the problem with 4G and Digital TV?
At the other end of the 4G spectrum, the 800MHz bands are very close to the 700MHz bands used for digital terrestrial television. It isn't expected to affect all transmitters but the Crystal Palace transmitter in London and Winter Hill transmitter in Lancashire are two very significant ones that will be.
What can be done about it?
Most households will be able to remove any interference by fitting a plug-in filter to the aerial a bit like a broadband micro-filter. Most households should be able to fit this into the aerial point. However, if you're aerial has a booster fitted to improve the signal, the filter needs to be fitted between the aerial and the booster, otherwise you boost the interference as well as the signal. As that normally means working at heights you're not expected to do that yourself.
Do I have to buy the filter?
In short, you don't. Ofcom made it part of the bidding process that the winners would fund an organisation to help affected households. That organisation is at800.tv and it is their job to identify and help those affected. They will supply an in-line filter to you if it is needed and should work. They will only supply one filter per household so you may need to purchase additional filters and they're currently negotiating with potential suppliers.
If a simple filter doesn't work or you're in a vulnerable group that can't reasonably be expected to do it for yourself, you can request support. At800.tv will get a reputable installer to do the work for you.
And if that doesn't work?
At800 are expecting the 4G interference to be too strong for the filters to work in some cases. They really don't know how many but estimate between 10,000 and 40,000 households. For these households they will cover the cost of moving you to an alternative satellite or cable platform or an entirely bespoke solution if necessary. They have the authority to spend up to £10,000 per household to ensure they get some sort of free-to-view TV service.
Do I have to do anything?
Officially, at800.tv will approach you pro-actively before the 4G transmitters are turned on if they think you may be affected. However, you can review your digital tv supplier or indeed all you your broadband, home phone and digital TV services.