New U.K. 4G Net Causes TV Reception Problems

Several British news sites are reporting that television viewers are having problems with interference from a new 4G mobile network.

According to the Daily Mail, Homes robbed of TV signal by new 4G mobile network will get up to £10,000 to be reconnected. Although the homes affected by the interference will be provided with filters or money for a “professional refit” funded by the mobile companies, the filters may not be enough.

Vanessa Allen reported that MP John Wittingdale, chairman of the culture, media and sport select committee, said, “'One of my concerns is that the Government is making the filters available only for households primarily using digital terrestrial TV, and yet there will be a large number of additional households that have second sets and they will not receive filters. I have been informed that 38,500 households will still be affected after filter installation and that, of those, perhaps 18,000 will be primary digital terrestrial television households.”

Ben Bryant at the Telegraph included a comment from Communications Minister Ed Vaizey in his coverage of the story saying that some 500 of the worst affected households unable to switch will receive up to £10,000 each to find an alternative solution.

Bryant writes, “Around 950,000 homes are expected to suffer interference ranging from image distortion to the total loss of some channels as superfast broadband is rolled out.”

I wonder if TV viewers in the United States will experience the same problems after the repacking of UHF TV spectrum and reallocation of channels for wireless broadband. AT&T raised the possibility of interference from TV transmitters to their wireless systems (see this week's article on their ex parte filing). To reduce interference between TV and wireless services, the FCC is planning to establish guard bands, which should result in fewer problems here, although interference from intermodulation may still be an issue, depending on the final band plan adopted.

Doug Lung is one of America's foremost authorities on broadcast RF technology. He has been with NBC since 1985 and is currently vice president of broadcast technology for NBC/Telemundo stations.