Freeview is facing a dramatic shakeup later this month that can see quite a few channels swapping positions on the TV planner and a few disappearing for good. The changes are as a result of a broadcast signal – named COM7 multiplex – being switched off to make way for the newest 5G mobile technology. This COM7 service is currently used to beam a swathe of channels to tens of millions of homes across the UK and once it’s gone there will likely be much less capability for the Freeview platform to make use of.
Considered one of the primary and largest casualties of the switch-off is BBC News HD which can now not be available from June 30.
Confirming the news, the BBC said: “As a consequence of the closure of COM7, BBC News on Freeview will likely be available only in SD from the top of June 2022. Nonetheless, you may still watch it in HD on BBC iPlayer.”
Together with that channel disappearing, the BBC has also revealed that BBC 4 HD and CBeebies HD will move to recent positions on the planner with customers advised that they could have to retune their TVs and set-top boxes later this month.
It isn’t just BBC services that will likely be affected by the COM7 multiplex changes as channels including FreeSports, Now 70s, More4 +1, PBS, QVC Beauty HD and Quest HD also depend on this signal.
It’s currently unclear what’s going to occur to those services after June 30 although Freeview says it’s working with content providers to scale back the impact of the upcoming signal changes.
Talking to Express.co.uk, a Freeview spokesperson said: “The COM7 mulitplex’s Ofcom licence will expire at the top of June, following an Ofcom auction to make more room for 5G mobile services. We’re currently liaising with the channels which are on this multiplex to substantiate next steps. An additional service update will likely be provided to viewers sooner or later.”
So why is that this all happening and who will likely be affected?
Last 12 months, UK network EE won the auction to make use of the COM7 frequency to assist boost its recent 5G data network.
5G is the long run of mobile devices because it offers much faster download speeds and a more reliable signal which implies more people can connect with it without delay.
Although that is great news for mobile users, this all implies that at the top of June 2022, Freeview’s COM7 multiplex will close. Because of this, there will likely be less broadcast capability available and plenty of channels carried on COM7 can have to either close or be reallocated to other multiplexes.
Hopefully, there will likely be a full update on exactly what channels will likely be shut down and where existing services which are continuing to broadcast their content will likely be moved to.