London: Millions of viewers could be cut off from watching TV in Britain as a result of new high speed 4G mobile phone signals.

Around 40,000 homes will lose their signal entirely and will be forced to use alternatives such as satellite or cable to receive a TV signal.

The firm monitoring the problem admitted that distributing filters to 2.3 million viewers before the networks go live was a race against time.

With the TV services switching over to digital, a band earlier used by TV is being diverted to phone firms to offer high speed 4G services. This 800 MHz band is currently being auctioned by Ofcom to companies that wish to provide 4G services, media reports.

In certain circumstances, it is possible that new 4G services at 800 MHz could interfere with some existing terrestrial digital TV signals, meaning that viewers will need to fit a filter or, in around 40,000 cases, use cable or satellite providers.

Digital Mobile Spectrum Limited (DMSL), a new company funded by 180 million pounds of the proceeds of the ongoing 4G radio spectrum auction, is in charge of the problem.

The auction is expected to finish later this month, allowing mobile operators to begin building the 4G networks by the summer.

"We need to be fully operational by March to be in place to mitigate any interference issues," said Simon Beresford-Wylie, a telecom industry veteran appointed as chief executive of DMSL.

"We expect to be able to identify affected households. We will need to procure millions (of filters) in the first instance," he said.


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