Ofcom: LTE at 800MHz will cause TV interference, £100m fix needed

LTE operating at 800MHz will cause interference to UK TV watchers when it is launched in 2013 unless operators do something to address the issue, according to the telecoms regulator, Ofcom. The regulator called upon operators to be ready to fix the problem, which could potentially affect up to 760,000 homes across the UK, or around 3 percent of viewers.

Estimates drawn up by Ofcom could see the LTE operators being asked to pay the majority of the estimated £100 million needed to solve the problem.

According to Ofcom, the 800MHz frequencies pose a problem due to their close proximity to spectrum used for digital TV transmissions. To resolve the issue, operators are being advised they will need to install an RF filter in TV viewers' aerials. In a small percentage of cases, less than 0.1 per cent of digital TV viewers, a filter will not solve the problem and the house will need to be equipped to receive digital satellite TV channels.

While the regulator has been aware for some time that LTE could cause problems to digital TV, and had previously commissioned extensive tests last year on their effect on cable TV, it is now turning its focus more toward finding a low-cost fix to stop LTE impacting on TV transmissions.

But the organisation has admitted that the full nature and scale of the interference has yet to be determined, and has now launched a consultation, which will include mobile operators. Ofcom expects to publish an update some time during the autumn.

For more:
- see this Independent article
- see this Daily Telegraph article

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