TV retunes ahoy as Ofcom announces plans to turn Freeview spectrum over to 4G

TV retunes ahoy as Ofcom announces plans to turn Freeview spectrum over to 4G
Ofcom says spectrum switch won't require new digital TV gear

Communications regulator Ofcom is planning to boost the UK's 4G mobile broadband capacity and safeguard its future growth by opening it up to a further spectrum band.

Before 2022, the independent body wants to allow networks to utilise part of the the 700MHz band, more commonly used by carriers on the continent, enabling the demand for 4G to be efficiently managed.

However, the 700MHz spectrum currently has an occupant which would need a new home as a result. That occupant is the UK's digital terrestrial TV services, such as Freeview.

So does that mean another digital switchover and new aerials and equipment for television viewers across the UK? No, according to Ofcom.

Can we get a retune?

It claims the vast majority of households will still be able to enjoy the likes of ITV4, Challenge and Dave with a simple retune.

Only a "very small minority," which Ofcom pegs as 1 in 200 households, will experience any problems and those folks will receive help to find the solution.

Also sitting on the 700MHz spectrum are the wireless microphones (known collectively as Programme Making and Special Events or PMSE), such as those used in theatres and at events and concerts.

Ofcom says spectrum will be made available for that technology and says it has already identified potential bands.

Ofcom's proposal comes alongside an estimate claiming that demand for 4G will be 45 times greater than it is today once 2030 rolls around.

Via Telegraph

Chris Smith

A technology journalist, writer and videographer of many magazines and websites including T3, Gadget Magazine and He specializes in applications for smartphones, tablets and handheld devices, with bylines also at The Guardian, WIRED, Trusted Reviews and Wareable. Chris is also the podcast host for The Liverpool Way. As well as tech and football, Chris is a pop-punk fan and enjoys the art of wrasslin'.