'I don't want compensation, I want a working TV' - what OAP told MP about Bilsdale transmitter delay

A “wholly inadequate” response to the Bilsdale mast shutdown should spark a public inquiry, says an MP.

By Alex Metcalfe
Wednesday, 8th September 2021, 1:02 pm
Updated Wednesday, 8th September 2021, 1:03 pm
Stockton North Labour MP Alex Cunningham.
Stockton North Labour MP Alex Cunningham.

Signal problems triggered by a fire at the 1,000ft North Yorkshire transmitter last month continue to hit viewers despite service being restored for more than 400,000 people.

Stockton North Labour MP Alex Cunningham said: “As the Bilsdale Transmitter site operator, Arqiva has a responsibility to ensure that services are up and running and people are supported through this process.

“They are falling short at every turn and I was surprised to hear that rather than providing a fully staffed helpline, Arqiva are simply providing an automated message for anyone looking to find out when they might get a full service back.

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“Last week a 93-year-old constituent told me how, along with her friends of a similar age, they are unable to receive services and haven’t the first idea how to adjust their sets.

“She told me how lonely she has been without the television, adding that she didn’t want compensating, she wanted a working TV.”

Mr Cunningham has written to Ofcom chief Melanie Dawes demanding a “full inquiry”.

An Arqiva spokesperson has “wholeheartedly apologised” for the disruption, adding: “Our teams are working around the clock and our recovery plans have meant that many people have had their services restored.

“Our plans have included using a combination of our existing sites and temporary structures where we have been able to, and planning for the building of an 80m temporary mast on land near the existing mast.