In the United States, broadcast TV is seen by many as a bit of a quaint relic of the past. People are so conditioned to paying for their TV, they can’t even fathom that there’s 30+ channels floating around in the average major market out there for the taking by anyone.
Cellular providers, who are often attached to cable and internet companies, obviously aren’t too thrilled by this all of these free airwaves, and far more importantly, are running out of places to put all their new wireless services, so they’re staring longingly at that wide swath of the EM spectrum that TV occupies. Part of the reason for regulation on the broadcast spectrum is to make sure that one broadcast source’s signal won’t step over another’s, but it seems that officials in the UK haven’t quite managed it.
The UK government is selling a chunk of the TV spectrum for 4G wireless services, but those signals are close enough that people in some areas are going to start having some problems. The BBC is supported by a TV tax on the public, and as such, everyone is guaranteed by law to be able to receive its channels without additional charge, and something is going to have to be done:
“These proposals to sell spectrum to mobile phone operators in order to raise millions for the Treasury could remove the option of free-to-air television from millions of viewers,” said spokeswoman Sophie Chalk.
“This runs completely against the UK’s system of public service broadcasting whereby there is universal access for all citizens to programmes made by the main terrestrial channels. It is an outrage.”
While a fund has been established and paid for by the cell providers to install filters, not all of the roughly two million over-the-air viewers potentially affect by this can be helped, and over 8000 households are thought likely to be in too high interference zones for the filters to work. I’m sure that there’s going to be some kind of deal to provide these channels via cable or satellite for free, which is what I’m sure is what is the future in the US in the next 20 years when our wireless companies want to do the same thing (followed later by charging you anyway of course, when providing free TV becomes a “burden”).
Via: [The Telegraph]