All change for Freeview in parts of SW Wales


Changes to Freeview signals in parts of south-western Wales have been completed, as part of a national drive to free up frequencies for future 5G mobile services.

The changes mean that viewers in places such as Swansea, Carmarthen and Tenby need to retune to restore any missing channels following a brief period of downtime during which engineering work was carried out at the transmitter sites.

The exact number of Freeview channels affected depends on which transmitter signals are being received from. In some locations, including households directly served by the Carmel transmitter, all services have changed frequency, whereas in others, including in parts of Swansea served by the Kilvey Hill transmitter, only a some channels are affected.

To support viewers, Freeview has created a number of self-help videos to assist viewers in correctly retuning their TVs. Affected viewers can also contact the Freeview Support help line on 0808 100 0288 or visit www.freeview.co.uk/tvchanges.

For some households, retuning may not restore channels due to the type of aerial in use. Freeview is advising those who can't restore channels to contact them on 0808 100 0288. Such households may be eligible for free in-home support, including aerial work if needed. The mobile network operators have been funding this support.

That's because frequencies previously used for Freeview, in the 700MHz frequency band, are being reassigned for 5G and will be auctioned off by Ofcom to mobile network operators in the near future. The first 5G services are currently using higher frequencies above 3GHz, but it won't be until the 700MHz frequencies are made available to mobile networks before coverage can be improved, as the lower 700MHz frequencies can travel further from each mobile mast and are better at penetrating buildings. 3GHz+ frequencies are however more suited to carrying large amounts of data over short distances.

Freeview services currently in the 700MHz band are being moved out of this area on region-by-region basis. To make room for the services, even some transmitters who don't transmit in this frequency band are affected, as frequencies are co-ordinated so as to reduce interference between transmitters.  Satellite, cable and IPTV viewers will see no change. But viewers who use BT, TalkTalk and Plusnet are affected as these three services use a combination of IP (internet) TV and terrestrial (Freeview) signals.

Cumbria will become the next part of the UK to be affected by the frequency changes when engineering work takes place at the Caldbeck transmitter serving Cumbria, Dumfries and Galloway at the end of the month.


Image above: Carmel transmitter - Carmathenshire. [Google Earth]