THE chief executive of the company behind the Bilsdale mast” has vowed to do “whatever it takes to rectify the situation” for thousands of people still without TV signal

In an exclusive interview with The Northern Echo, chief executive of Arqiva, Paul Donovan, said that plans were in place to reduce the number of households affected by the disruption down to 10,000 at the least.

Read more: Bilsdale transmitter: Plan revealed to RESTORE signal to all remaining viewers

The company said currently, nearly 80,000 households are without signal. Once the new mast has been completed this number will reduce to 23,000

Mr Donovan argued that many of these households will use Sky and Virgin Media, bringing that total down again to around 10,000 to 12,000 households

He said: "Currently we have around 78,000 households that are not covered, that should go down to just over 20,000.

“We go from 85 per cent having some kind of signal, and just 5 channels, to 95 per cent having much stronger signal, and having the full Freeview services, so it’s actually quite a significant restoration of service."

Despite this however, there will still be many areas without TV signal once the temporary mast has been construction in what Arqiva are calling "not-spots."

These include coastal and rural areas such as Leyburn and the Yorkshire Dales.

Mr Donovan added: “The areas that are going to be the most impacted are up the valley through Leyburn and if you know that area you will know that it’s already pretty wild and pretty rural.

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“Then we have an area which is essentially the coast and that simply is a result of not having line of sight, so we end up with towns on the coast that are under a ledge so the signal effectively goes over the top of them."

Mr Donovan confirmed that the new mast was on track to be completed on Tuesday October 5, as long as the “weather goes well this week.”

The new mast will be operating at a much higher power than the temporary transmitters currently in place at sites like Eston Nabb.

Many people who are experiencing fuzzy signals and bad reception, will, according to Arqiva, have a much clearer picture as well as be able to receive all 70 freeview channels, instead of the current five.

Mr Donovan added: "There’s three main points, the first is that there are more people covered, the second is that it is a more powerful signal than our temporary masts and the third one is the full suite of Freeview services.

“If the weather goes well this week, we are confident that we will meet our deadline of having the mast in place.

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Meanwhile, the BBC have confirmed that those with bad reception and fuzzy signals will also be able to apply for a refund or extension to their TV licence.

A spokesperson for the BBC said: "We appreciate some customers may still have problems receiving signal in areas where coverage has been restored.

"If these customers have been unable to receive TV coverage for over a month, and are unable to view BBC programming through BBC iPlayer, satellite and cable platforms, they can claim a refund or free licence extension by contacting TV Licensing on 0300 790 6096.”


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