You’ve bought the set-top box, maybe had a new aerial installed, upgraded to an HD TV and retuned it for digital switchover. Surely you’re now all set for the digital age and there’ll be no more viewing disruption?
Well, think again if you’re one of the unlucky one million households that lives close to a mobile phone transmitter destined to carry the new 4G service when it rolls out over the next year or so.
Apparently the phone signals will interfere with the Freeview services and you’ll need to have a filter fitted to your aerial downlead to avoid a dodgy picture.
Worst-case scenario for 10,000 homes
But it gets worse for a further 10,000 homes where even a filter won’t do the trick and they’ll need to switch away from Freeview entirely and watch TV via satellite or cable instead. For a small number of homes even this solution won’t work as they aren’t able to receive Sky or Virgin services and up to £10,000 per household will be provided to fund ‘alternative solutions’.
The cost of the filters, switch to an alternative TV provider or other solutions must all be met by the mobile phone provider. Filters will be provided automatically if you live within a given distance of a transmitter and they can be fitted without the help of an engineer, though help will be provided if you are disabled or over-75.
But after investing a fair bit of time and money getting my TV sorted for switchover I’m going to be mightily miffed if I find that my home is in an affected region, and I suspect that the other unlucky households are going to feel the same.
Is there no end to the disruption caused by the introduction of new technology? How would you feel if this was happening in your area… or maybe it already is?