U.S. broadcasters are not the only ones pushing the
government to make sure it is not running roughshod over free over-the-air TV
on its way to the 4G wireless future it has envisioned for the country.
Conservative Member of Parliament John Whittingdale, chair
of the House of Commons Culture, Media & Sports Committee, has asked for an
investigation into the impact of new mobile phone technology on the signals of
millions of TV viewers still receiving over-the-air TV, according
to the Daily Express. The
committee oversees the BBC, one of the free TV entities that could be affected
by interference or blackouts from new mobile technology.
Whittingdale told the paper that viewers who had recently
made the switch to digital would be "very cross" to find their signals had
suddenly disappeared next year. "The television viewer has already been through
one quite complicated and inconvenient exercise with analogue switchover and
now we're looking at several more years of disruption," he said, which
echoes concerns raised by the National Association of Broadcasters about the
FCC's reclamation of broadcast spectrum to be re-auctioned to help relieve the
predicted spectrum crunch facing 4G in this country.
"There's a case for a trial which might cause a small delay
and I understand that might still happen," said Whittingdale. "I
don't think they actually know how many will be affected. Until you start doing
it, you can't really tell."
New 4G antennas are being deployed in June in the country,
and Whittingdale wants there to be a test first so regulators can get a better
handle on the interference risks.
While that might cause delays to mobile broadband, he said
it was important to put TV viewers first, the paper wrote.