Freeview renews calls for mobile operators to foot 4G interference bill


Mobile operators have come under renewed pressure to foot the bill for Freeview customers that lose access to their TV channels once the 4G switchover begins.

According to a report in the Independent newspaper, more than two million UK Freeview customers will need to install 200 TV filters to solve interference problems once 4G is switched on later this year.

The Government has committed 180 million in funding to deal with the problem, despite Freeview claiming it will cost at least 20 million more than that to put right.

In the Independent report, representatives from the BBC and Freeview said the Government should foot the filter and installation costs.

Meanwhile, they also called on the mobile operators to stump up some cash too.

"If you don't have a filter you won't be able to watch television. You will get very significant pixelation and the picture will break up," Ilse Howling, managing director of Freeview, told the Independent.

"It will cause interference for a large number of Freeview homes and we are really concerned about that. We think the Government has got this wrong and this is really unfair."

This is the second time in recent months that Freeview has called on mobile operators to stump up funds to protect its customers' TV signals.

In a statement to IT Pro, a spokesperson for operator Everything Everywhere admitted the reuse of airwaves in the 800 MHz spectrum for 4G mobile services could cause disruption for some.

"Mobile network operators, the media and communications industry regulator, Ofcom, and the Government are working together to find a solution," said the statement.

"The current proposal is that an organisation will be set up and funded by the Government to inform and assist affected consumers on how to restore any affected TV services.

"This means, for most viewers who experience problems, the fix will be simple and provided free of charge," it added.

IT Pro was awaiting further comment on this matter from the Mobile Operators Association at the time of publication.