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Around 90,000 UK households may be required to change their TV aerial as part of plans to maximise the use of 700MHz spectrum for mobile broadband.

A new Ofcom proposal is geared at safeguarding the future of digital terrestrial TV, while ensuring the UK can meet the growing demand for 3G and 4G services.

The media regulator - which is charged with managing the limited supply of spectrum - is consulting on proposals to change some of the frequencies used by digital terrestrial TV.

It is planning to make the 700 MHz band, currently utilised for Freeview and other wireless services, available for mobile broadband by 2022, if not earlier.

Ofcom anticipates that demand for mobile data could be 45 times higher in 2030 than today.

As such, more spectrum is needed, along with new technologies to make mobile broadband more efficient.

"Importantly, releasing the frequencies for mobile broadband would be achieved without the need for another TV switchover," the regulator stated.

"For the vast majority of viewers, the move would require only a simple retune of their existing TV equipment."

Ofcom believes just 0.5 per cent of households may be required to change their roof-top aerials, although this would not be before 2019.

It has pledged to work with aerial installers and retailers to minimise any impact on TV viewers.

Ed Richards, Ofcom’s Chief Executive, said the body's role is to ensure the UK makes the best and most efficient use of its airwaves.

"[This] is vital to enable UK’s digital economy to meet consumers’ needs," he claimed.

“Our plans will allow digital terrestrial TV to thrive, while ensuring the UK’s mobile infrastructure can support consumer demand and economic growth."

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