Mobile operators should pay LTE inteference costs, says Freeview

Mobile operators should bear cost of protecting viewers’ TV services from interference from LTE signals, according to UK digital-terrestrial platform operator Freeview.

Freeview has called on the UK government to revise its proposals on help to consumers affected by the launch of 4G mobile services.

At a parliamentary briefing on the issue, Freeview said it was concerned that the government’s commitment to a £180 million (€225 million) fund to pay for countering the effects of interference does not go far enough to meet consumer needs.

The company asked the government and regulator Ofcom to recognise that consumers should not have pay to resolve interference with their Freeview service and for them to revise their proposals so that mobile operators are responsible for the full costs associated with protecting viewers’ TV services, estimated by Ofcom at around £200 million.

Freeview said the government needed to address concerns about the cost of supporting the installation of new filters, costs affecting consumers with second sets and support for the elderly, and pointed out that research suggested Freeview customers were less interested in 4G services than the population as a whole.

“It is vital that any strategy listens to what consumers want and need. We strongly believe that the Freeview homes should not be subject to further inconvenience and additional cost to make way for mobile broadband,” said Ilse Howling, managing director of Freeview. “The Government has committed to recouping the cost of protecting viewers from interference, using proceeds from the 4G mobile auction. However, this will still leave viewers to bear a substantial proportion of the cost. The mobile phone operators will be the ultimate beneficiaries of this new service, and we believe that they should pay to mitigate the television interference according to the ‘polluter pays’ principle.”