Report: French LTE trials disrupting digital TV channels

Residents of Laval, France, have experienced severe interference to their digital TV viewing due to mobile operators conducting LTE trials in the city, according to a report in the French newspaper Les Echos.

The technology director of the French audiovisual regulator CSA, Franck Lebeugle, wrote to those conducting the trials (France Telecom Orange, SFR, Bouygues Telecom, Alcatel-Lucent and TDF,  calling for them to suspend LTE transmission during certain periods. The action came after complaints from tower-block residents that they have suffered significant interference or a total loss of digital TV reception as a result of LTE signals.

According to a reported carried by Les Echos, Hugh Swift, a director of TV Towercast, a subsidiary of NRJ that is responsible for digital TV transmission, the LTE trials have caused TV receivers to become "desensitised" by them being overwhelmed by the more powerful LTE signals. Towercast is also said to be annoyed that it has not been included or consulted with regard to the Laval-based trials, which involves its rival TDF.

The impact of LTE on digital TV was raised with the French industry minister, Eric Besson, in June. The minister brushed aside the issue, claiming that any problems were only apparent for "a fraction of time."

Ofcom, the UK telecoms regulator, has stated that one of the reasons it has delayed the UK auction of LTE spectrum is due to the likelihood of the technology causing interference to digital TV in around 800,000 homes.

For more:
- see this Les Echos article (translated via Google Translate)
- see this Telecom Paper article (sub. req.)

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