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UK Preps 4G Mobile Broadband as Last Analogue TV Signal Switches Off

Wednesday, Oct 24th, 2012 (1:01 am) - Score 1,165

Ofcom has today confirmed the successful completion of the UK’s switchover from the old Analogue TV to Digital Terrestrial Television (DTTV) signals, which paves the way for the next generation of 4G superfast Mobile Broadband (LTE) services to launch via the vacant 800MHz band.

The first experimental analogue TV broadcasts originally began in August 1932 and were followed by the BBC’s launch in 1936. The Digital Switchover process, which is responsible for clearing the related radio spectrum (790-862MHz) of the old analogue signals, has been underway since 2008.

Ed Richards, Ofcoms CEO, said:

The UK’s switchover to digital has been a huge success. Not only has it created more TV choice for consumers, it has also freed up vital capacity that will be used to deliver mobile broadband services to 98% of cities, towns and villages across the UK.

Now that switchover is complete, Ofcom is looking forward to delivering the 4G auction as the next step in delivering new higher speed mobile broadband services.”

Under the recently revised plan, which should be free of any further delays and legal challenges, the final auction process for the 800MHz and 2.6GHz bands will begin at the end of 2012 and the spectrum will then become available to use by a new generation of 4G/LTE services within “the first half of 2013” (Spring); roughly 6 months earlier than expected.

Mobile operators that bid for a slice of the 800MHz band are also expected to support a £180m pot of cash that will go towards tackling any interference created by the new 4G services, which could disrupt Digital TV services for up to 2.4 million UK homes (more details).

Some of the money saved by the Digital Switchover process, which came in at around £53m under budget, has already helped to prop up the Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) office’s total budget of £680m for improving the country’s fixed line broadband services.

By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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