The announcement comes five months after the first 4G services launched in some areas in the 800MHz frequency band, previously used for Freeview TV, and adjacent to some Freeview channels in some regions.
In its announcement, at800 states they are "confident that disruption to Freeview will be less widespread than initially estimated. It is therefore able to refocus its resources to better serve those viewers who are affected by the activation of new 4G masts in their area."
The company is committing to quicker response and resolution times, aerial installer home visits for affected viewers and additional support for properties using a communal aerial (such as flats). These changes are expected to help at800 better meet its objective of ensuring people can still watch Freeview when 4G mobile services at 800 MHz are activated in their area.
at800 says that viewers will benefit from the following areas of service improvement:
- Quicker response and resolution times: If a viewer lives in a house with its own aerial, their primary means of watching TV is Freeview and 4G is diagnosed as the cause of Freeview disruption, at800 will restore the service to its previous quality within ten working days (previously 15 working days).
- Aerial installer home visits for affected viewers: If at800 believes disruption to Freeview is due to 4G at 800 MHz, it will arrange for an accredited installer to visit the viewer’s home, check the cause and fit an approved filter to the TV system, at no cost to the viewer. Alternatively, such viewers can choose to be sent an approved filter to fit themselves. Additional filters can be provided if required.
- Additional support for properties using a communal aerial: For properties with a contracted aerial installer, at800 will continue to provide filters free of charge. For those without a contracted aerial installer, or if the contracted installer needs some help, at800 will provide technical advice and assistance. In certain cases, at800 may be able to assist with the installation of a communal filter.
The revised approach from at800 has been endorsed by the 4G/TV Co-existence Oversight Board, which represents consumers, broadcasters, mobile operators, Ofcom and the Department for Culture Media and Sport (DCMS).
Ben Roome, CEO of at800 said, “We've used evidence gathered over the past ten months to assess how best to support viewers whose TV is affected by 4G at 800 MHz. The changes we're announcing today will help us provide a better, more effective service.”
at800 states it has handled more than 175,000 calls from viewers; received over 15,000 web enquiries; and responded to 2,700 people on social media.
For viewers experiencing disruption to Freeview that is not due to 4G at 800 MHz, at800 provides advice on potential causes and directs viewers to organisations that may be able to help such as Digital UK.