WE are now approaching the two month anniversary of the Bilsdale mast outage, and still there are tens of thousands of people without a signal. Everything from difficult access to bad weather has delayed the construction of a temporary replacement mast, and now we learn the replacement may not work well in wintry conditions and so a second temporary mast may be needed, and that’s before a permanent tower is constructed.

We are sure the engineers are working their hardest, but we are equally sure that there is a growing exasperation among people who have been unable to watch television for two months. There are alternatives to aerial reception, but it is mainly the elderly who rely on the television for company who do not have access to the alternatives.

And anyway, why should people have to pay for the alternatives when they have, by law, to pay their licence fee? If a milkman or newspaperperson couldn’t deliver to your door, you wouldn’t be expected to pay for a service you had not received, and yet you still have to pay your TV licence.

It is not fair.

In these days when we can send a probe to Mercury 48m miles away, it is staggering that we cannot beam a TV picture into people’s homes from the Cleveland Hills for two months – and they still have to pay for privilege of not receiving it.