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Update from Arqiva on Bilsdale Mast: Project Restore

We’re here to help

A new, temporary mast at Bilsdale came into service on the 13th October, helping to restore TV services to around 95% of households across the region. If you haven’t done it already, then you’ll need to retune your TV and there’s a retuning guide here.

"Not-spots"

Unfortunately, a number of homes still remain without a TV signal. These so-called “not-spots” have poor line-of-sight communication with the temporary mast. We’re working hard to increase coverage in order to reach more homes, but to help as many people as possible we’re also offering further assistance.

Help available

We’re trying to find the best way to help everyone without a TV signal. If you, or someone you care for, needs support or advice then you can fill in an online form to request help here or call the dedicated freephone number on 0800 121 4828.

TV streaming device voucher

If you’re living in a “not-spot” area where services have not been restored then you can also receive a voucher to cover the cost of an alternative way to watch free-to-air TV.

The £50 voucher can be spent at Currys, online or in store, to buy a TV streaming device. See www.currys.co.uk for all of the available streaming devices. Any funds left over from the voucher after buying a TV streaming device can be used by the householder.

The official letters containing details on the secure way to activate your Currys voucher are being sent out this week. You need WiFi to use a TV streaming device, and if you don’t have broadband then please call the freephone number above for further assistance.

We’ll continue to provide updates and support here at bilsdalemast.co.uk

We’re here to help

Information and support for people in the Bilsdale Mast transmission area

Who can get further help?

Those who qualify for further help from Arqiva through the Project Restore Home Support team must meet the following conditions:

  • Cannot watch BBC One, BBC Two, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 (in standard definition) on their main TV set - whether this is through the aerial or through a connected SMART TV
  • Do not have TV from Sky, Virgin, FreeSat, BT TV on their main TV set
  • Live in the affected area
  • Have not claimed a £50 Curry's voucher that Arqiva will mail out to those households in not-spots.

Postcode Checker

Use the postcode checker to find out if your area has been affected.

What happened to Bilsdale Mast?

The original mast was more than 300 metres tall and sat on the North York Moors. It served around 600,000 households in urban and rural areas across North Yorkshire, the Tees Valley and County Durham. Weighing around 500 tonnes, it was one of the tallest structures in the UK.

On 10 August 2021, a fire was reported. The fire service arrived within 45 minutes and managed to get the fire under control within a day, although it took five days to clear the site and make it safe.

Unfortunately, the mast suffered serious damage, causing a loss of signal to much of the North East and North Yorkshire. The cause of the incident is still being investigated, but the fire service ruled out arson.

About Arqiva

We’re a telecoms and infrastructure company. We build and operate technology that’s used to provide things like TV, radio, and smart meters. We manage over 1,000 transmitters around the UK. At Bilsdale Mast, we receive signals from the likes of the BBC and ITV, and then send it back out across the country.

How will we help?

It’s our job to restore TV services for everyone affected by the disruption. We’re currently putting up an 80-metre tall temporary transmitter near the original mast in Bilsdale to get services back to as many people as possible, as quickly as possible.

We’re bringing together local authorities, charities and housing associations to help us identify people without services, so we can offer short-term solutions, ensuring no-one is left without TV services whilst we replace the mast. We will prioritise people aged over 65, the clinically vulnerable and vulnerable, and their carers, so we can target help to them first. We’ll be setting out more on what this help and support will look like in the coming days.

How will we fix the problem?

We have over 100 team members working round the clock to build the new, temporary mast. The temporary mast will restore services to more than 90% of households, and we’re aiming to have this done by 19 October depending on weather conditions.

Prior to switching on the new mast, we will need to check and test the temporary transmitter, which will bring some disruption to services. We are then looking at a range of other solutions which will help us restore services to as many people as we can. We have identified several more sites where we can install other, smaller relay transmitters to help fill in gaps in coverage.

Who else is helping?

We’re working closely with charities, housing associations and all of the local councils to get in touch with people who are still experiencing problems with their TV signal. We are grateful for their support, and that of other partners and stakeholders, in trying to meet the challenges of Project Restore. And, to protect the local moorland and local wildlife, we’re also working with environmental experts and ecologists.

FAQs

If you currently receive no service at all, you should undertake a retune of your television or set-top box to check that service has not been restored. If you are unsure how to do this we have a guide here. 

If you still have no service after that you can call our helpline on 0800 121 4828 to discuss your circumstances. Please note we are prioritising support for those over 65 and vulnerable groups so please only call if you absolutely have to.

We have sent out unique codes to claim a £50 Currys voucher to households identified as being in an area that is not served by a signal. This voucher is to enable those households with a broadband connection to purchase a streaming device to provide access to free-to-air TV services.

If your household does not have the right set-up to support streaming you can call our helpline on 0800 121 4828.

Our helpline is prioritising calls from people over 65, to the clinically vulnerable and other vulnerable people with carers. We’re being supported by local organisations such as Age UK, local authorities and housing associations to reach vulnerable people in their areas to provide help to access the support on offer.

Blind or partially sighted people are one of our top priorities. Support can be arranged through our helpline for an accredited engineer to attend to the affected property.

Helpline Number

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.

The specific groups being prioritised are those over 65, the clinically vulnerable and other vulnerable people with carers.

For these groups, a freephone line is available for help.

Bilsdale Project Restore Support Line: 0800 121 4828