Engineers hope to restore Bilsdale signal within fortnight

Bilsdale transmitter before the fire. Photo: Martin Dawes/Wikipedia.

Engineers working to restore TV and radio signals after the fire at the Bilsdale transmitter say it will be up a fortnight before temporary measures go live.

Arqiva, which owns the mast, said the work was complex and made more difficult because of limited access to site due to the fire.

In an update on the situation, the company said it had managed to restore services to some customers using its Eston Nab site.

However, it said Eston Nab, near Middlesbrough, was unable to reach all the areas served by the larger Bilsdale mast because broadcast signals rely on line-of-sight between transmitter and rooftop aerials.

The company said this was why masts such as the one at Bilsdale needed to be so tall, and why they were located where they are to reach as many homes as possible.

The company added: “The job of locating transmission equipment involves complex work to assess coverage areas, ensuring line of sight while avoiding interfering with other equipment and also the environment in which they are required.

“The only way to truly replicate the service from Bilsdale is to erect something on the same site, which has been difficult given the nature of the incident.

“To date we have been unable to even access the existing mast to assess its condition.”

The company said the second phase of its recovery plan involved the erection of an 80m temporary mast at Bilsdale.

“We have been surveying the site to identify the best alternative locations within the restrictions we have.

“Included in this is the fact that Bilsdale is a Site of Special Scientific Interest, meaning we have to seek agreement to place any additional equipment.

“There are many activities to this phase 2; preparation of ground, access, erection of an 80m temporary mast which involves raising the mast itself, running power, bringing in high powered transmitters and feeders to the antenna and configuration and test.

“This part of our plan should reinstate TV coverage for the vast majority of viewers who receive signals directly from Bilsdale.

“Due to the work required to deliver this solution we expect that work to be complete within 14 days from now.”

The company apologised for the ongoing disruption but said it was committed to delivering a solution for its broadcast customers and their viewers and listeners, as fast as it could.

“We understand the frustrations of some of you that this process is not quicker, and we expect to be able to provide details next week of which areas should benefit from phase 2.

“But following this update we hope you can understand that broadcasting to the nation is complex and while these incidents are thankfully rare, 99.99 per cent of the time when you turn on your TV the picture will be there.”

For further help and advice please visit Freeview


  1. TV Licensing insist that we should be paying for a TV license even if we do not have a service. I find this unacceptable. Not everyone has a phone or computer to watch TV on and so presently we have no service at all. There are so many elderly and disabled people who rely on their TV for company. Also elderly people dont always have the money to pay for sky, netflix and all those other companies. Can someone speak to the TV licensing company and suspend peoples licenses till they have a regular service. I was very angry with the person on the phone as he said it was a legal obligation to have a TV license even if you have no service, how ridiculous is that???

  2. Is the land owner preventing access because of grouse shoot? This wouldn’t surprise me at all!

Comments are closed.