New fourth generation mobile services, known as 4G, are being switched on in Derry.
4G gives people faster access to the Internet on smartphones and tablets. However, there is a small chance that some 4G mobile signals transmitted at 800 MHz will cause interference to Freeview Television, which is received via an aerial.
Because 4G at 800 MHz signals sit next to the frequencies used by Freeview, they can overload the receivers in televisions and set-top boxes causing interference.
Signs of interference include the loss of channels or sound, pictures going blocky, freezing or the TV screen going blank or showing a ‘No Signal’ message.
The good news is that help is available. Set-up under government direction, a company called ‘at800’ offers free support to households that rely on Freeview for their TV to resolve 4G related interference problems so that viewers in Derry can keep enjoying their favourite programmes.
Ben Roome, CEO of at800, encouraged anyone experiencing issues with their Freeview signal to contact at800.
“We want to ensure that people know it’s our role to fix Freeview interference caused by 4G at 800 MHz, and that there’s no charge for our service.
“If you rely on Freeview for TV, we can arrange for one of our accredited engineers to visit homes to fix Freeview interference caused by 4G signals, free of charge. If you use Freeview alongside other TV services, we can send free filters which block mobile signals that are easy to fit to the aerial lead connecting to TVs and set-top boxes.”
Cable and satellite TV, like Sky or Virgin, won’t be affected. However, if viewers have cable and satellite TV and also watch Freeview, at800 can provide free filters and advice, but not in-home engineer support.
People who live in communal properties should contact at800 and also advise their landlords. at800 can provide free filters to landlords but property managers are responsible for the cost of fitting these.
at800 also offers extra support for people who are 75 years of age or older, are registered blind or partially sighted or receive any of the following benefits personal independence payments (PIPs); attendance allowance; constant attendance allowance or War Pensioner’s Mobility Support.
With more 4G masts due to go live, any viewers who experience new interference to Freeview should contact at800 on: 0808 13 13 800 (free from landlines and mobiles) or visit www.at800.tv/contact-us
For more information, please visit www.at800.tv