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700MHz band clearance underway in Scotland

27 September 2017

Ofcom is clearing the 700MHz band of spectrum for mobile broadband use in response to consumers’ increasing demand for mobile data. Ofcom believe that access to the 700 MHz band will also enable mobile operators to improve data speeds in rural areas, and do so more cheaply. Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) and Programme Making and Special Events (PMSE) services across the UK are consequently moving off the band and there will be some short-term inconvenience for DTT viewers. The 700MHz band clearance began in the Shetland Islands in July and is now in progress in the north of Scotland. From February next year, it will extend to the Midlands, East Anglia and parts of southern England, including Greater London. Transmitters will be updated across the UK until mid-2020 and viewers will need to retune when this takes place in their area. Ofcom estimates 14-20m homes will need to retune their TV equipment; 100,000 -160,000 homes may need to replace their aerial; 40,000 - 110,000 may need to have their aerial realigned and a small number of households may need to change TV platform.

Ofcom is responsible for administering the funding to make the necessary transmitter changes, but the Government is responsible for communications and support for viewers affected. More information can be obtained from Digital UK.

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