It’s a bit surprising that it’s only now that proposals have been issued for dealing with the interference between digital terrestrial broadcasting and 4G transmissions.
Ofcom was pointing out last June that the frequencies for digital terrestrial TV broadcasting were ‘adjacent’ to the 800-900MHz band being auctioned for 4G.
What we now have is a classic British fudge. Earlier this week t he Department for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport (DCMS) accepted that 4G transmitters are going to affect terrestrial TV broadcast reception in nearby households, and all of these households will l be issued with filters on the basis of their proximity to the transmitters.
The filters will connect to STBs and this process will be so simple anyone can do it, says DCMS. One hopes that not too many Grannies will be electrocuted..
The filters will do the trick for most of the 900,000 households. However, some 10,000 of them will not benefit from the filters, and will have to switch to satellite or cable TV.
If a household can’t switch to cable or satellite, and the DCMS thinks there could be 500 such households, they’ll be given £10,000 by the government and told ‘you’re on your own’.
The DCMS recommends that groupings of the cast-out 500 could pool their money to invest in additional relay transmitters.
The nationwide cost of providing the filters will be £108 million which will be funded by the winners of the 4G spectrum auction which has been delayed by bickering among potential licensees but it currently due for later this year.
DCMS Sec of State Ed Vaizey says: “We expect the deployment of 4G mobile services in 800 MHz and 2.6 GHz to begin in 2013 in the UK, when the spectrum has been cleared and is available for 4G services to be deployed.”
‘Clearing’ could be a reference to the need to use the frequencies for the Olympic Games. The government has already asked the Ministry of Defence to make spectrum available for the Games, and it could very well be that the delay in 4G deployment is partly in deference to the requirements of Lord Sebastian Coe.