Freeview users lose another TV channel this month as huge shake-up announced
Freeview users may find they have fewer things to watch next month with another channel confirming that it’s switching off the lights for good. Forces TV, which features a swathe of popular shows from the 70s and 80s along with dedicated content for the military, will close down its service from June 30 leaving fans unable to watch content such as the Brittas Empire, CHiPs, Haggard and Sorry!.
Posting a message on Twitter, the team behind the channel said, “@Forces_TV bids you farewell on 30 June. We’ve loved bringing you all your favourite classics.”
The closure is due to one of the signals used for Freeview transmission, called COM7 multiplex, being switched off to make way for 5G mobile technology. EE won the rights to use this service which will pave the way for faster downloads when its customers are away from fixed-line broadband.
Forces TV, which will also close on Sky and Virgin Media, said that due to the wider changes happening to Freeview, options to continue broadcasting the channel are not financially viable anymore.
COM7 is currently used by a number of channels to beam their content into millions of homes across the UK and the switch-off isn’t just affecting Forces TV.
The BBC also recently confirmed that the COM7 change will mean Freeview users will no longer be able to watch its live news channel in pin-sharp HD.
Confirming the news, the BBC said: “As a consequence of the closure of COM7, BBC News on Freeview will be available only in SD from the end of June 2022. However, you can still watch it in HD on BBC iPlayer.”
Other channels that currently use COM7 include FreeSports, Now 70s, More4 +1, PBS, QVC Beauty HD and Quest HD. It’s unclear what will happen to these services after June 30 with Freeview expected to announce full details soon.
Speaking to Express.co.uk, a Freeview spokesperson said: “The COM7 mulitplex’s Ofcom licence will expire at the end of June, following an Ofcom auction to make more space for 5G mobile services. We are currently liaising with the channels that are on this multiplex to confirm next steps. A further service update will be provided to viewers in due course.”
So why is this all happening and who will be affected?
Last year, UK network EE won the auction to use the COM7 frequency to help boost its new 5G data network.
5G is the future of mobile devices as it offers much faster download speeds and a more reliable signal which means more people can connect to it at once.
Although that’s great news for mobile users, this all means that at the end of June 2022, Freeview’s COM7 multiplex will close. As a result, there will be less broadcast capacity available and a number of channels carried on COM7 will have to either close or be reallocated to other multiplexes.