Areas of North East coast set to lose TV signal when Bilsdale temporary mast goes live

Hundreds of homes on the North East coast could lose their TV signal when a new interim mast is switched on in the coming weeks.

Wednesday, 19th January 2022, 3:48 pm
Updated Wednesday, 19th January 2022, 3:48 pm

Arqiva, the operator of the Bilsdale Mast in North Yorkshire, which was destroyed in a fire last August, is due to switch on a new 80 metre interim mast while a permanent fix is worked on.

The company says the temporary transmitter will be more robust and weather resistant, and give improved TV signals for more than 100,000 households across the region.

But around 2,500 homes from Hartlepool up to Seaham are at risk of disruption to their Freeview TV signal when the switch on happens due to the creation of a “signal shadow” where the line of sight is interrupted.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The old Bilsdale Mast is demolished via controlled explosions after it could not be repaired.

Approximately 1,250 homes from the Headland in Hartlepool, Blackhall and Seaham that rely on Freeview services are predicted to lose their TV signal.

As a solution, Arqiva is to provide engineers free of charge to help repoint aerials on homes in the known “not spots”.

It has written to households affected asking residents to call a dedicated helpline to arrange for engineers to visit.

Chief commercial officer Shuja Khan said he is confident they have sufficient time and engineers to reach everyone affected before the switch on takes place around the end of February.

A map of the North East and North Yorkshire showing the impact of a new interim mast after it is switched on with fewer homes said to experience signal problems.

He said: “We want to restore and improve services to people across the region as quickly as possible, and today we have set out more details and likely timescales through 2022, including a huge construction project to permanently replace the old Bilsdale Mast.”

If repointing is not possible, Freesat systems can be installed instead. A Project Restore vehicle offering support to customers is also due to tour affected areas later this month.

Homes which use Sky, Virgin and Freesat services will not be affected by the switchover.

Additional transmitter sites have recently been switched on in Seaham and Sunderland to boost coverage while another in Blackhall is being explored.

Work began on a temporary mast at Bilsdale last year.

Arqiva has submitted plans for a permanent replacement mast at Bilsdale measuring 303 metres.

It is hoped to be operational by spring 2023.

Anyone affected by the switch over is urged to call the helpline on 0800 1214828.

Read More

Read More
Support Local: Some Hartlepool businesses to try out in 2022 - as nominated by M...

Support your Mail and become a subscriber today. Enjoy unlimited access to local news, the latest on Pools and new puzzles every day. With a digital subscription, you can see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content.

The Hartlepool Mail has been in town since 1877, and your support means we can continue telling your stories for generations to come. Click here to subscribe.