Skip to main content

FAQs

From why we’re building a temporary mast, to how to retune your TV, we’ve already got lots of answers to the most common questions below.

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 or Freesat on their main TV set
  • Live in the affected area
  • Have not claimed a £50 Currys voucher that Arqiva will mail out to those households in not-spots.

In order to act as quickly as possible, it has been necessary to prioritise certain TV services over others. This is because the relay towers that we have and can put up quickly have limited space and therefore can’t carry equipment for all the channels that were on Bilsdale Mast, which was more than 300 metres tall. The channels that appear in numbers 1 to 5 on your TV are known as the core Public Service Broadcasting services. These provide the core services which are intended for public benefit and are required by law to carry critical local and national news as well as public service announcements. They also deliver the largest share of TV viewing on Freeview. The reason we have focused on standard definition (SD) is that not all TV sets can access HD and this ensures nobody is excluded from receiving these critical services.

We are of course working towards eventually restoring all services to households as quickly as possible.

We’ve met with local organisations such as Age UK, local authorities and housing associations to discuss the best way to serve these people. We’re currently putting plans in place with local partners and we’ll provide an update as soon as there’s more news.

Priority will be given to people over 65, to the clinically vulnerable and other vulnerable people with carers.

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

Aerial engineers can’t access any house where someone is self-isolating due to Covid. Our engineers will operate Covid-safe principles and practices such as venting windows and wearing PPE.

Terrestrial television signals rely on line of sight, so because this mast is shorter than the original, it can’t reach the same amount of areas. You can watch a short video about it here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YbhgFMbq0oY.

On February 18 2022 planning permission was granted for the building of the new permanent replacement mast at Bilsdale. The new mast will be more than 300 metres tall, and will involve teams of more than 100 workers.

The construction of a new Bilsdale Mast in North Yorkshire, which will become one of the UK’s tallest structures and is only a few metres smaller than The Shard in London, is a significant engineering challenge. The scale and complexity of the project in a remote and environmentally-sensitive location, using a bespoke design, along with the impact of the weather at the moor top site, mean the finish date for the project has to be an estimate.

A construction project of this scale and complexity might usually take 18-24 months, but Arqiva is working hard with others – for example, steel suppliers in the UK – to reduce that timescale in a safe and effective manner. It is hoped the new Bilsdale Mast will be operational in spring 2023. 

Broadcasting television and radio to millions of people is heavily dependent on line-of-sight communication – that’s why broadcast towers and masts are very tall or found on high ground. These transmitters require cable networks to power them. And installing, maintaining or replacing this equipment, especially at height, is very complicated.

Weather can also be a problem. High winds can make it too dangerous for people to work above certain heights. And wet weather can mean it’s not safe to carry out electrical work.

The temporary mast has restored some services for over 98% of households. Broadcast technology is complex and for reasons outside of our control – rooftop aerial condition, direction and obstacles to the line of sight – one house may receive a signal while next door may not. 

As a result of the Bilsdale fire, radio services across the region were also affected, and we’re aware that some services are degraded or poor quality for some listeners. We’re very sorry for the disruption this has caused, there has been a lot of work carried out in the area to improve services until the new mast is ready at Bilsdale.
The BBC national FM services (Radio 1, 2, 3, and 4), BBC DAB, D1 and SDL digital radio services, as well as digital services on North Yorkshire DAB and Teesside DAB, are now transmitting from the interim tower.
If you still find you’re missing your favourite radio stations here are some options to try:
  1. If you usually listen on FM, try retuning – some services are available from other transmitters nearby. A simple retune up or down the dial may bring these services back, noting that some local FM stations may be a different local service.
  2. If you are unsuccessful on FM and you have access to a DAB radio, try finding your service on that – the DAB network has a different network of transmitters and it could be that you’re able to get your service back here. This may require a retune using the autotune function of the radio to refresh the stations that are available.
  3. If you have access to the internet, try searching for your station – most radio stations have Listen Live options online for those with web access
  4. If you have had TV restored, many channels are available further down your Programme Guide – look for all the main radio stations on channel numbers between 700 and 730