West Sussex: Countdown to the first 4G clearance retune

(text last updated 2nd October)
On Wednesday, 3rd October 2012, viewers receiving from the Midhurst transmitter in West Sussex will be required to retune their Freeview TVs/set top boxes/PVRs in order to continue to receive all services via an aerial.

Also, viewers receiving from the Steyning relay will need to retune to retain all available services.

Digital UK indicate that viewers receiving from Midhurst transmitter will be able to retune after 6am on Wednesday 3rd, following changes overnight. Steyning viewers can retune after 11am.

As a result of these changes, Freeview services from Midhurst will be interrupted during the early hours of Wednesday morning. Even the Haslemere relay, which is unaffected from the frequency changes, is likely to see disruption until 11am at the latest, as result of work at Midhurst, according to information supplied by Digital UK.

    The Changes 

Midhurst:  D3&4 moves from ch61 to ch56 and SDN moves from ch62 to ch54;
Steyning: BBC A moves from ch59+ to ch46, D3&4 moves from ch50 to ch40 and BBC B moves from ch 62 to ch43. Services to increase to 56w ERP.
BBC-A: the multiplex carrying BBC One, Two. D3&4: the multiplex carrying ITV, C4, C5. BBC-B: the multiplex carrying the HD channels. SDN: the multiplex carrying 5*, QVC, Quest
A full list of 4G clearance retune events can be found at:

The extra retune is required as TV services can no longer use a portion of the frequency band historicially used for TV. The "800 MHz frequency band" was largely cleared at switchover. However, services in West Sussex couldn't completely clear the band due to switchover having not yet completed in neighbouring areas. Therefore, this additional retune is required.

Once 4G services start using the 800 MHz band, filters will be required in some locations to block the interference to TV systems. Ofcom is planning to auction off the spectrum for 4G services, but has had to delay the process up to now due to legal complaints from mobile phone networks. Winning bidders for the spectrum will be expected to form a mitigation company to assist affected householders. Under current proposals, one filter per affected household will be provided. Mobile services are not expected in the frequency band until next year, so 4G interference will not begin once this retune has happened. EE's new 4G/LTE service will not use the 800 MHz band in the interim.

Start of a year long process
Next Wednesday's retune kickstarts a series of belated retune events taking place across the UK and continuing until 2013, when the Waltham transmitter serving the East Midlands will become one of the last to retrospectively clear the 800 MHz band. 

In other regions of the UK, the situation is more complex than in West Sussex, because originally only UHF channels 63-68 were being cleared. In 2009, with the switchover already in full swing, it was decided that UHF channels 61 and 62 had to be cleared too. It was too late to factor this in for some areas.
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  1. Vodafone and O2 want the auction earlier than later so the later dates from http://www.a516digital.com/p/4g-clearance-retunes.html have to be sped up or will dicate the successful 800 band winners more so if O2-Vodafone Alliance.

    The UK as it stands will only have 2 proper competing hardware networks.

    Ofcom, EE, Vodafone, O2 and other parties are to have a meeting with the culture secretary on Tuesday (Oct 2nd) with the view of resolution.

    EE 1800 aka 4GEE is provisionally to launch on October 23rd

    Source: http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/news/article-2210510/UK-mobile-phone-users-4G-weeks.html?ito=feeds-newsxml


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