SITE operators of Bilsdale mast say that more than 3,000 people have accepted the £50 voucher offer while the BBC are sticking to their guns over their partial refund policy.

In a recent update provided by Arqiva, more then 3,000 people have taken up their offer to receive a £50 voucher in order to purchase a streaming stick.

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The infrastructure company also reported that TV services have improved for 6,000 more households across the region.

Further smaller relay sites are set to be switched on and a new secondary 80-metre mast is under construction at Bilsdale which, according to Arqiva, will further improve the quality of services in the region.

However, despite this news, the BBC are sticking to their guns and will not be releasing figures on how many people have requested a partial refund.

After speaking to the broadcasting service, the BBC told The Northern Echo that their stance had not changed on the subject and an update would be provided in due course.

In a previous statement issued to The Northern Echo, a spokesperson for the BBC said: “We are continuing to assist customers where possible and the refund process is ongoing.

“If a household has been unable to receive TV coverage for over a month, and is also unable to view BBC programming through BBC iPlayer, and satellite and cable platforms, they will be able to claim a refund or be offered a free extension to their TV Licence, depending on their TV Licensing payment plan.

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“Those who have already contacted TV Licensing and have not had services restored will automatically receive a partial refund or licence extension for the second month”.

Meanwhile MPs have spoken out over their “disappointment” over the BBC’s decision to not issue full-refunds to those affected.

Jacob Young, Conservative MP for Redcar, said: “It is very disappointing that BBC Licensing has, so far, still refused to offer refunds to many of the customers who were left without service due to the Bilsdale Transmitter fire in August.

“I thank Arqiva for their work in trying to reinstate coverage with the temporary mast and for offering vouchers for alternative devices to support those living in ‘not spots’ where coverage remains poor.

“But the BBC needs to recognise its responsibilities to those who pay for its very existence through the licence fee. When people pay for a service that is not delivered, the provider should deal with that in the same way you would expect from a private provider.

“I want to praise the Northern Echo for this ongoing campaign. Now it’s time for the BBC to step up and do the right thing by all of those who were left without a service.”

Kevin Hollinrake, MP for Thirsk and Malton, confirmed that he had written to the BBC about the ongoing issue.

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He said: “I fully understand the frustration of those of my constituents who are affected by this ongoing issue. I have previously written to the BBC on this, and met with and written to Arqiva a number of times. The fact that many people have been without service since August and have been paying either a full or partial licence fee since then is not acceptable.

“I believe the bottom line should be getting those people a full licence fee refund. I hope that Arqiva and the BBC can work together to figure out this reimbursement and I will be making the case to both of them on behalf of my constituents.”


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