SITE operators have said TV signals could be restored in just over three weeks to 90 per cent of residents across the region who are still without signal.

Chief executive Arqiva, Paul Donovan, has said that permission to build the new temporary mast is just “days away” and it will complete construction 21 days after permission for the site has been secured.

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Mr Donovan also gave an “unreserved apology” to those people who have been without TV since the fire began and expressed how the company “prides itself on delivering super reliable services.”

The Northern Echo:

The chief executive expressed that Arqiva was working “around the clock” to get coverage to remaining residents.

The new mast is set to be 80-metres tall and will be built close to where the Bilsdale mast is located in a disused quarry, according to site operators.

Once the new mast is complete, 21 days after Arqiva have secured permission, which Paul Donovan hopes will be through by Friday, the new temporary mast will cover 90 per cent of households.

Speaking about the remaining 10 per cent, Arqiva said they would be building “infill” sites in order to bring coverage to the remaining households.

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Mr Donovan said: “Being as high as possible really makes sense, so we are putting in an 80-metre high site, that is going to involve a fleet of helicopters doing 100 trips, bringing up hundreds of tonnes worth of concrete and construction materials.

“As soon as we have permission, and we are ready to go for this, it will take 21 days for that to be in place.

The Northern Echo:

“That should get us to 90 per cent coverage of the Bilsdale area, the remaining 10 per cent, we will try and mitigate that further by tuning the network we have built and by looking at the provision of some infill sites that will give temporary coverage, however there will still be some areas without.

“I am meeting with council leaders, with the leaders of not-for-profit associations like Age UK and housing associations so that we can have a discussion about what we can do to provide service for the most vulnerable people in society, who are in those hot spots.”

“We can only identify where those non-coverable spots are, once we’ve actually created the technical solution that gives coverage to as many people as quickly as possible.

“I know it seems like four-weeks is a long time since the fire, but we have been working 24/7 to make sure that we deliver those technical solutions as fast as we possibly can.

“This is a Site of Special Scientific Interest and therefore there are a lot of ecological and environmental issues that need to be worked out.

“My commercial director spoke to the director of that authority this morning and he believes that the permissions to build on the site are imminent.

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“We also have considerations around our landlord and those have gone through a due legal process, so we are ready to go when we are given the final go ahead.

“We estimate it will take 21 days by the time we get approval, so in advance we have been gathering materials, we have helicopters booked and we will attempt to raise that mast in a 21 day period.

“if we get a bout of very bad weather and helicopters can’t fly, that could add around three or four of five days to that, but 21 days is our plan and that’s what we want to deliver.

“As soon as I get the permissions, I’ll put the plan into action, and we would hope to have that through by Friday and then we can begin the process of building the new mast next week."

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