Millions of Freeview customers will be burdened with bills of more than £200 to install a filter to prevent a new mobile network interfering with their television picture. Experts have warned that without the necessary filter the 4G mobile phone network will cause significant pixellation and picture break-up.
Freeview and the BBC are furious at the government’s decision to land the taxpayer with the expense of installing the filters which they say could add £212 on to the existing cost of cable television.
Estimates suggest that between 2.3 million and three million households – those within 2km of 4G transmitters – face interference and some could lose their signals entirely.
Isle Howling, managing director of Freeview told The Independent: ‘If you don’t have a filter you won’t be able to watch television. You will get significant pixellation and the picture will break-up.’John Tate, director of policy and strategy at the BBC, said the costs of introducing 4G should be shouldered by the ‘polluter’ and not the taxpayer.
The Government has allocated £180m to tackle the issue but Freeview have warned that this will only cover the cost of the filters and not the cost of hiring a professional to install them. It is thought that people living in flats will be worst affected, being forced to shell out £212 more than the £166.95 price of a year’s subscription to Virgin Media.