VOUCHERS are to be offered to more than 20,000 households whose TV reception has not been restored by the temporary mast at Bilsdale.

The 80-metre tall temporary mast at the moorland site was switched on yesterday, restoring Freeview channels to 95 per cent of homes affected by the fire to the original Bilsdale transmitter in August.

Read more: Bilsdale transmitter: Temporary mast switched on TODAY - Here's when to retune your TV

However, communications firm Arqiva confirmed today that around 23,000 homes fall into a 'not spot' area not covered by the temporary mast and a series of measures have been launched to help those households.

These include vouchers being sent out that can be redeemed in store and online.

The Northern Echo:

The original Bilsdale mast being demolished

The value covers the cost of an alternative fix which can be chosen from a range of products which will provide ways to receive free to air TV, including a Roku stick device and an Amazon Fire TV Stick.

The news comes as the Northern Echo continues its fight to get the BBC to provide a licence fee refund to all of those affected by the blackout.

Letters will be sent out to homes on how to claim the vouchers and an online form will also available for completion by those in the priority categories.

Specific groups of affected people are being prioritised at this stage, and local charities in North Yorkshire, Tees Valley and County Durham are helping Arqiva reach them.

Those priority groups are those aged over 65, the clinically vulnerable and other vulnerable people with carers.


A freephone line has been launched to help them – 0800 121 4828 - and engineers can be scheduled to visit the homes of people in those affected areas and in those groups.

The bilsdalemast.co.uk site is now live, with more details of how to get help and who is eligible in the initial stage.

Further help and support will follow and will be announced in due course, and Arqiva is working closely with local authorities, housing associations and charities to track down those affected and to provide support and information.

Read more: PICTURES: Scenes after the demolition of the Bilsdale TV mast last week

The Northern Echo:

Paul Donovan, Arqiva’s CEO

Paul Donovan, Arqiva’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “I want to pay tribute to the work and commitment of our teams working around the clock on the moor at Bilsdale to get this temporary mast finished quickly and safely.

"It is an important step in Project Restore to getting services back across the region, but there is much more work to be done.

“We remain absolutely committed to supporting the most vulnerable people affected by the loss of TV services, and today we are setting out our latest steps to do just that, working with our partners.”

Homes that have been affected by loss of channels are advised to retune their TV now that the temporary mast is fully operational.

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