Vaizey: Only 4-5,000 at 4G risk

Ed Vaizey, the UK’s Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries, has refuted suggestions that as many as 2.3 million homes risk losing their digital terrestrial TV service as a result of interference from 4G mobile phone signals.

Speaking at the Future of Broadcasting Conference in London, Vaizey suggested that the real number was as little as four to five thousand homes. “We’re on top of the DTT interference issue,” he stated. “We’re working with Ofcom. It’s a very, very small number of consumers who will have to move platform,” he claimed.

He pointed out that £180 million had been set aside to address the matter, covering the need to install filters in affected homes, with a company set up by the mobile phone operators handling the project.

Although Ilse Howling, Managing Director of UK digital terrestrial TV platform Freeview, speaking at the previous day’s Westminster eForum Keynote Seminar on ‘The future of free-to-air TV’ has suggested that the future of the service was at risk should unfavourable decisions be made in terms of the reuse of UHF spectrum, Vaizey said that he had met Freeview and discussed the matter. “Mechanisms are in place. We’re helping address the problem. We’re listening to Freeview’s arguments. We’re on top of it. We’re not going to let anyone lose their TV.”

He felt that the £180 million was “more than enough” to address the problem, but confirmed that if more was needed “we’ll step up to the plate”.

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