- Tests covered parts of London with the strongest Freeview signal on frequencies furthest away from 4G test signal.
Recent 4G trials in parts of South East and West London have not created any Freeview reception problems, according to at800, the company set up to assist Freeview viewers with 4G interference problems.
The company admits though that the Freeview signal from Crystal Palace is broadcast on frequencies furthest away from the test signals in the 800 MHz band, and that due to the strong signal from Crystal Palace transmitter, viewers were not using amplifiers - which was a key issue in the West Midlands trials earlier this year. The findings contradict a report in the East London Advertiser published earlier this month suggesting there had been small-scale Freeview reception problems, but nowhere near the mass black-out suggested in some quarters.
The tests in London did not cover areas where lower powered Freeview relay transmitters operate on frequencies adjacent to 800 MHz, such as Alexandra Palace, or around the edges of the London TV region, where the signal from Crystal Palace is weaker and local transmitters such as Reigate, Hemel Hempstead Town and Bishop's Stortford operate next to the future 4G frequency band. But it is understood that tests in parts of London will continue in order to assess possible interference around locations such as Woolwich, where the relay also uses frequencies close to the 800 MHz spectrum.
Simon Beresford-Wylie, chief executive of at800, said, “London is a big and important market for 4G services and also has millions of Freeview viewers. Clearly it was essential for the broadcasters and the mobile operators that we run trials in London before a rollout of 4G at 800 megahertz. Whilst it seems unlikely that there will be issues for the vast majority of television viewers in the capital, we will remain alert to any possible interference when rollout commences.”
Further tests in the Brighton area are still ongoing, where Freeview broadcasts on frequencies right next to the 800MHz 4G test signals, and where hilly terrain has made the use of amplifiers necessary in some areas. Brighton's The Argus newspaper is reporting that viewers have lost Freeview reception, with one pensioner being told to climb up onto the roof to check if he had got a booster box. at800 blamed a "misunderstanding".
updated at 16:26