Fewer Freeview channels for some Devon and Cornwall viewers from Wednesday

Viewers in parts of East Cornwall and West Devon will lose some Freeview channels on Wednesday - and no amount of retuning will bring them back.

A number of Freeview HD channels including BBC Four HD, 4seven HD and Quest HD will no longer be broadcast from the main transmitter at Caradon Hill, which serves households on both sides of the Tamar.

The switch-off coincides with a major retune event across the South West on Wednesday, as a result of Freeview frequency changes - part of a Government-backed scheme to clear frequencies previously used for terrestrial TV for future 5G services.

The channels being lost are on frequencies that will now be used to transmit Freeview channels in North Devon, as the number of available frequencies is cut to make way for 5G. The services from Caradon Hill would have interfered with North Devon's frequencies if they would remain on air after Wednesday morning.

These services could have been moved to a temporary frequency until closer to 5G roll-out, but that would have involved infrastructure changes for what would only be a temporary fix. Arqiva - the company responsible for distributing these services - has made a business decision against making any temporary changes at the Caradon Hill mast - and so services will cease.

A similar move occurred in Torbay earlier this year, when the same channels were withdrawn from the Beacon Hill transmitter.

The frequency clearance will result in fewer frequencies being available for terrestrial (Freeview) channels. Cleared frequencies will be auctioned off to mobile network operators for 5G services.

  • 5G services launching this year use a different, higher frequency band. The current Freeview frequencies (in the 700MHz frequency band) will be used later for part of a second roll-out phase that will enable 5G services to reach a wider geographical area.