Ed Vaizey announces £180m from 4G auction to fix digital TV interference
It seems that more of the money raised from the 4G auctions has been allocated even before the amounts the bidders are willing to pay is known. The terms for the auction are not due to be firmed up until later in 2012, with the actual auction happening event later.
Some £180 million from the auction is to be reserved for fixing interfence caused by 4G mobile networks to the Freeview terrestrial digital TV service. Back in 2011, Ofcom estimated that some 760,000 homes may receive some level of interference from living close to a 4G mast, due mainly to the design of Freeview receivers which does not filter out the 4G frequencies.
The press release from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport indicates that they expect the majority of problems will be fixed by fitting of a cheap filter (£11 plus fitting), some homes may require a new Freeview box, which while standard devices are cheap, PVR and HD enabled boxes cost considerably more. In the most extreme cases households may have to forego Freeview and use a cable or satellite service like Sky or Freesat.
It appears that the DCMS is willing to spend up to £10,000 to resolve the issue for a single household in extreme cases, which is enough to provision a full fibre connection.
Another £150m of other government money is being spent to ensure 4G gets rolled out to some 98% of the UK population, and the 800Mhz bands that cause the problems with Freeview are attractive for rural coverage due to its better coverage and ability to penetrate further into buildings.