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Adopting 700MHz for Mobile May Force 160K UK Homes to Replace Aerials

Thursday, March 31st, 2016 (1:04 pm) - Score 663
3g 4g mobile broadband network ec sourced image

The on-going effort to re-purpose the 700MHz radio spectrum band (currently used by UK Digital Terrestrial TV (DTTV) services) and make it available for use by Mobile Broadband (4G, 5G etc.) in time for 2020 (Q2) could force 100,000 – 160,000 UK households to replace their aerials.

Ofcom’s latest impact consultation (Call for Input) on the development suggests that the vast majority of consumers (14-20 million households) will be able to handle the change with a simple retune of their existing Freeview TV receiver equipment.

dttv_frequency_bands

However the regulator’s latest research suggests that some will face a more significant challenge. For example, Ofcom predicts that 100,000 – 160,000 UK households may need to replace their aerials (expected to cost around £150 per home) and 40,000 – 110,000 households may have to re-point their aerials (i.e. make it point in a different direction) at a cost of around £50.

Apparently “a very small number of viewers may need to change TV platform” (e.g. switching away from terrestrial and adopting satellite or cable) and this could cost around £220 per home, although it’s not clear precisely how many could be required to take this course of action.

Back in 2014 Ofcom estimated that only between 105,000 and 110,000 households might need to replace their rooftop aerial. However they have since done more research on the real-world distribution and performance of different types of aerial, which has found that more homes could be impacted than originally thought.

It’s suggested that those most likely to need a full aerial replacement will live in the following transmitter areas: 1. Limavady, 2. Angus, 3. Selkirk, 4. Pontop Pike, 5. Winter Hill, 6. Carmel, 7. Huntshaw Cross, 8. Mendip, 9. Oxford, 10. Midhurst and 11. Dover; where TV services make the most use of the 700MHz band.

On top of that Ofcom has suggested that it would need to run an information and advice campaign in order to raise consumer awareness, which would cost around £2.5m to £5.5m.

Leave a Comment
5 Responses
  1. Avatar Phil Coates

    Which would be more expensive? Spaffing £300 million on Satelitte Broadband no-one wants, or paying for new aerials for this group of people?

  2. Avatar dragoneast

    May be I’m barmy but it looks like around £3m (or a bit more) to meet the costs of everyone affected to make changes, but up to £5m to run an information and advice campaign? Is it me that’s barmy . . . or Ofcom?

  3. Avatar dave

    The bigger issue is not the aerials, it is the channels. If they are getting rid of the 700mhz band then unless they allocate bandwidth elsewhere then the number of channels will have to reduce or some will have to be converted to h264 instead of mpeg2 or adopt dvb-t2 as mux too. Either of these options would lead to millions of tv’s being unable to watch freeview channels.

  4. Avatar Al

    So who is going to pay for these new ariels, realignments etc…?

  5. Avatar ken

    Looks like bad news for those that use an aging product. You can have free view on satellite or even sky! Even cable and TVOIP! YES BT USES AND TALKTALK “You view “, plus the Lower band “700MHz” is more likely to pass threw walls like stone which higher band fails and also 700MHz band travels a massive distance compared to 2.4ghz+ so I say carry on 4G+’A’ is much more better than all Generation of Air band tech. 4G+A “10Gb”. Simply satellite is restricted to 25mbps due to data polling. Where 4g is now in the 100+Mbps speeds I have around 60 mbps on average and maxed out so far at 130Mbps. Yes you can go faster and yes 4g is much faster.

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