800 MHz frequency adjacent to frequency used in digital TV broadcasting
UK’s telecom authority Ofcom has warned that the newest broadband service, 4G or Long Term Evolution (LTE), is likely to disrupt digital television signals unless steps are taken to upgrade the technology.
The telecom watchdog has started a consultation to find out ways to prevent 4G technology from disrupting digital TV service, which could ask providers to pay up to £100m.
The 800 MHz frequency used in 4G technology is close to the frequencies used in the broadcast of digital TV. Ofcom says that about 3% of users, or over 750,000 homes across the UK, could find that the 4G technology could interfere with set-top boxes and digital televisions.
Ofcom said, "The 800 MHz spectrum is adjacent to the frequencies used for digital terrestrial television (DTT) broadcasting. Due to its proximity, in a small number of cases this could cause the signals from mobile base stations to interfere with set top boxes and digital televisions in the future. This could potentially affect up to 3% of DTT viewers if no measures were put in place to solve the problem."
Though 4G is not in use now, they are expected to debut before 2013. Some mobile manufacturers have plan to launch 4G models early next year.
Among the possible suggestions are providing filters to television antennas and changing transmission signals at mobile base stations. Ofcom has said that the burden of extra costs will be borne by mobile operators.
Ofcom said, "Ofcom proposes that the majority of the costs should be borne by the future 800 MHz licensees."
"In a very small number of cases – less than 0.1% of DTT viewers – filters may not solve the problem. Ofcom is considering a number of options to address the problem which may require some viewers to change platforms."
The consultation closes on 11 August. However, the telecom watchdog has said that it is conducting further research and could publish a further consultation in the autumn.