Nearly 1 million UK homes to need 4G TV filters

Almost a million UK homes will need special filters for their tellies to cope with 4G interference.

Luke Westaway Senior editor
Luke Westaway is a senior editor at CNET and writer/ presenter of Adventures in Tech, a thrilling gadget show produced in our London office. Luke's focus is on keeping you in the loop with a mix of video, features, expert opinion and analysis.
Luke Westaway
2 min read

Almost a million UK homes will need to have their TVs fitted with special filters in order to prevent interference from 4G signals, the BBC reports.

The filters will be fitted to digital TV boxes, and will block noise from 4G signals, many of which will be flying about once the 4G spectrum is auctioned off to networks like Vodafone, Orange and O2.

Those using Digital Terrestrial Television or Freeview could be affected, with those living closest to transmitter towers expected to be the worst affected.

The good news is that Joe Public won't be footing the bill. The winning bidders will have to pay the cost of equipping those who are suffering from interference with the necessary filters.

In a statement, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) said that a £180m fund has been set up for exactly that purpose. Regulator Ofcom originally thought (PDF link) that about 760,000 homes would be affected, but the DCMS has since told the Beeb that the number of homes affected will likely be closer to 900,000.

The filter doesn't require an engineer's expert hands to install, but help will be provided to over-75s and people who are registered disabled.

About 10,000 homes may have to take more radical action than simply fitting a filter, instead changing to a different platform like satellite or cable.

About 500 homes (expected to be in rural areas) won't be able to receive those alternative services, and £10,000 per home will be allocated to help those folks find a solution to their TV woes, like getting fibre cable installed.

These measures will be irritating for those involved, but fingers crossed the disruption proves worth it once 4G is up and running. The UK lags sorely behind the US in terms of pumping speedy Internet to mobile phones and tablets.

This won't be happening any time soon though -- the 4G auction has been delayed until 2013. Trials of 4G have kicked off in Cornwall though, and also in parts of London.

Are you looking forward to getting 4G in the UK? Or are you satisfied with 3G Internet? Does it sound like the government has the right measures in place for those affected by interference? I want to know your thoughts in the comments below, or over on our Facebook wall