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Man using mobile broadband

Mobile broadband connectivity and speed problems could be solved by harnessing the soon-to-be unused analogue TV frequency, an analyst has posited.

According to a BBC report, the enormous growth of mobile broadband and sheer weight of consumers now logging on via dongles, Mi-Fi’s and mobile phones is putting 2G and 3G networks under strain. As a result, consumers are experiencing a poor service that is hampered by delays.

Britons are also being short-changed by the weakness of the 3G broadband signal in some areas of the UK, the article claims. Those in rural locations, where there are fewer mobile phone masts, are especially badly affected by the problem.

However, according to Phil Sayer, principal analyst at Forrester Research, the situation could be hugely improved were the TV analogue frequency currently being used by terrestrial channels re-allocated for mobile broadband.

This could be enacted after 2012 at which time BBC, ITV, Channel Four and Five are all set to stop using it for broadcasts when they switch over fully to digital.

Mr Sayer commented: “It would improve mobile broadband enormously," he believes. "700 MHz is a great frequency for good building penetration. 2.4 GHz [the current frequency used for wireless broadband] is pretty poor."

The extent of the problems being faced by mobile broadband providers was tacitly acknowledged in the article by a spokesperson for Vodafone, who noted that dongles are now reaching “critical mass”.

However, he also stressed that the company is working extensively on improving the quality of its network and depth of coverage that it offers. It is hoped that this will insulate it against further surges in demand for bandwidth.

Meanwhile, O2 has been researching 4G mobile broadband long-term-evolution technology in trials across Europe, which promises to dramatically improve the UK’s mobile broadband service once employed here. LTE is capable of delivering broadband connection speeds of up to 340Mb - thus dwarfing the maximum deliverable by current-generation networks.

Jessica McArdle, marketing manager at Top 10 Broadband, said: If the "Broadband For All" dream advertised in the Digital Britain report is to be realised we need to facilitate growth in this exciting area and stop thinking that digging up roads is the only solution.

“As growth in the mobile broadband sector continues to surpass that of home broadband, the release of spectrum issue is more pertinent than ever.”

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