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28000 UK Homes in Brentford and Isleworth to Test for 4G TV Interference

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013 (7:43 am) - Score 632

The at800.tv (DMSL) group, which was setup by UK mobile operators as part of a £180m effort to stop new 4G (LTE) based mobile services in the 800MHz band from knocking out digital terrestrial TV (Freeview) services, has announced a third interference trial in Brentford and Isleworth (London Borough of Hounslow).

The new trial is designed to complement at800.tv’s existing efforts in South East London (Greenwich, Lewisham, Southwark and Tower Hamlets), which began on Monday and will test the impact of an 800MHz based 4G service with 170,000 urban homes. By contrast the new Brentford and Isleworth trial will target 28,000 households from 29th April 2013.

However, unlike before, homes in Brentford and Isleworth will be sent a free at800 TV interference filter ahead of the test, which is designed to block 4G interference in the 800MHz band from screwing up Digital Terrestrial TV (DDTV) services in the 700MHz one. As a result the trial is more about testing how easy the filters are to fit and any related services for those in need of extra help (disabled people etc.).

Simon Beresford-Wylie, CEO of at800, said:

This test will help us assess any problems viewers may have with fitting filters and whether receiving one in advance improves awareness and understanding of the potential issue. We will have professional testing units and aerial installers in the area to help get Freeview services back to normal if they are affected by our test.”

The passive filters are small boxes (smaller than a pack of cards) that generally connect between an existing aerial cable and your TV or Freeview box, although viewers with an existing amplifier or signal booster may need to connect the filter between the antenna and the amplifier. A filter is not needed for cable and satellite based TV services as 4G does not interfere with those.

It should be said that at800.tv’s first test with 22,000 homes in rural Cradley Heath and Rowley Regis (England’s West Midlands) found significantly fewer problems than expected. The team had originally forecast that 120 homes could suffer reception problems but in the end only 15 needed help. It’s hoped that a similar situation will present itself in the London trials.

The first 800MHz based 4G and mobile broadband services are expected to launch towards the end of spring and early summer.

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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 Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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