TV disruption warning
Responding to a question posed in the House of Commons, Ed Vaizey, the Culture Minister, said that 945,000 households that use signal amplifiers could be affected, while the number that use communal aerials could be as many as 953,000.
Mr Vaizey does not say which areas will be most affected by the signal disruption. However, he did say that he expects the networks to pay recompense for any disruption incurred.
The 4G installation programme, while welcomed by network operators, government ministers and others, has not been universally welcomed. Sophie Chalk of the Voice of the Listener and Viewer said: “[The plans are] a major threat to the principle of universal provision in public service broadcasting.”
She added: “These proposals to sell spectrum to mobile phone operators in order to raise millions for the Treasury could remove the option of free-to-air television from millions of viewers.”
Ms Chalk went on to point out that the proposals run counter to the idea of public service broadcasting, which gives people universal access to terrestrial channels.
A new independent body called MitCo will oversee the installation plans. This will be given £180m in funding from operators who buy 4G licenses in the 800MHz range. This particular frequency is thought to affect Freeview channel signals.
MitCo has been charged with ensuring that any interference will be minimal, but critics think even this will be too much.