Arqiva, owners of the Bilsdale television transmitter, have provided an update on reinstatement works at the existing site and efforts to bring television signal back to thousands of properties.
Please find Arqiva’s statement below.
“We have had some success during phase 1 of our recovery plan using the Eston Nab site to restore services for some areas. Eston Nab is unfortunately unable to reach all the areas served by the larger Bilsdale mast, as broadcast signals rely on line-of-sight between transmitter and receiver (your rooftop aerial). This is the reason why masts such as the one at Bilsdale need to be so tall, and why they are located where they are – to reach as many homes as possible.
“The job of locating transmission equipment involves complex work to assess coverage areas, ensuring line of sight while avoiding interfering with other equipment and also the environment in which they are required. The only way to truly replicate the service from Bilsdale is to erect something on the same site, which has been difficult given the nature of the incident. To date we have been unable to even access the existing mast to assess its condition.
“Phase 2 of our plan involves the erection of an 80m temporary mast at Bilsdale and we have been surveying the site to identify the best alternative locations within the restrictions we have. Included in this is the fact that Bilsdale is a Site of Special Scientific Interest, meaning we have to seek agreement to place any additional equipment.
“There are many activities to this phase 2; preparation of ground, access, erection of an 80m temporary mast which involves raising the mast itself, running power, bringing in high powered transmitters and feeders to the antenna and configuration and test. This part of our plan should reinstate TV coverage for the vast majority of viewers who receive signals directly from Bilsdale. Due to the work required to deliver this solution we expect that work to be complete within 14 days from now.
“We are sorry for the ongoing disruption but are committed to delivering a solution for our broadcast customers and you, their viewers and listeners, as fast as we can. We understand the frustrations of some of you that this process is not quicker, and we expect to be able to provide details next week of which areas should benefit from phase 2. But following this update we hope you can understand that broadcasting to the nation is complex and while these incidents are thankfully rare, 99.99% of the time when you turn on your TV the picture will be there.
“For further help and advice please visit Freeview https://www.freeview.co.uk/bilsdale-transmitter.”