At least 35 Horrabridge households had their tv reception knocked out by the new phone mast and more are still finding out what their problem is, thanks to postcards dropping through letterboxes from the organisation in charge of putting the problem right.
By the time it is all sorted out, many will have been without their television for three or four weeks, and questions are still being asked about why there was no groundwork in preparation for the switch-on of a 4G broadband signal.
4G is short for 4th Generation of mobile technology, meaning it is up to gaming and streaming video and so on and takes quite a big new bite out of the available airwave spectrum.
The mast operator, Cornerstone Telecoms (CTIL), says it left the job to an organisation specifically set up to mop up problems with old aerials – at800tv. Its title is a reference to the signal range where conflicts arise. The telecoms companies were forced to pay for it and now seem to take the attitude that they have bought out of any responsibility for the problem.
The at800 helpdesk said they had sent cards to PL20 postcodes in September 2017, warning that 4G signals might affect tv and giving their contact details in case of problems. But that was after the last mast proposal had been knocked back and before the public knew anything about a new one. And none of the planning applications, or the public relations campaign by Vodafone and 02, reminded anyone of the tv problem.
There has been another public awareness drive this month, including another postcard drop, but too late for people to take action in advance. It seems to have started after the mast switched on, a fortnight ago from Tuesday this week.
A spokeswoman for At800 said they depended on timely warnings from the telecoms companies.
Speaking yesterday, she said: “To date, we have received 35 calls and have organised four engineer visits to properties in the area. Two of these visits have taken place and 4G has been confirmed as causing TV interference. Two visits are planned to take place in the next few days. We have also sent 28 filters to residents who have called us.”
A filter for the aerial signal at the tv end sorts out some problems but some ladder work at the roof end is also sometimes necessary and it is a slow business of trial and error to get your problems fixed for free. Some people have simply called out local fitters directly, who are run off their feet trying to get round all the premises reporting problems and then get back to them with the necessary kit.
See https://at800.tv/ or call 0808 13 13 800.