Thousands could be owed money back on their TV Licence after losing their signal in the recent Bilsdale transmitter fire. This serious blaze, on August 10, caused substantial damage to delicate equipment leaving some in the North East without access to popular services, such as the BBC, for almost a month. Due to issues repairing the mast, thousands are still experiencing a lack of any signal and these users could find themselves getting some money back.
Refunds will be offered to anyone who has been unable to watch TV through their aerial and who doesn’t have access via a satellite dish or through online services such as BBC’s iPlayer.
Confirming the payments, a TV Licensing spokesperson said: “Customers in the affected area who have been unable to receive TV coverage for over a month, and who are unable to view BBC programming through BBC iPlayer and on cable and satellite platforms, will be eligible for a refund or be offered a free extension to their TV Licence to cover the months affected.
“We are continuing to work with our suppliers Arqiva to ensure services in the affected area are resumed as soon as possible.”
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However, that’s not what is causing delays to plans to reinstate the signal from a temporary transmitter. The latest setbacks have been created by a legal snag, Arqiva – who owns the Bilsdale site – has confirmed.
Freeview, which is used by millions to access TV channels, has recently updated its blog with more news on the problems. In its latest post, the company said: “The only way to truly replicate the service from Bilsdale is to erect something similar near to the original site, which has been difficult given the nature of the incident. A temporary transmitter at the same site should reinstate TV coverage for the vast majority of households who normally receive signals directly from Bilsdale.”
“The transmitter operating company, Arqiva, plans to erect a temporary transmitter at Bilsdale which is a Site of Special Scientific Interest, meaning it has to seek agreement to do this.”
It was hoped that a full service would be back by August 28 but that deadline has now passed and things still aren’t fully fixed.
“This date has now been delayed as the legal process to secure access to the site is taking longer than Arqiva had initially anticipated. Arqiva has informed the court that this is a serious and urgent situation. Meanwhile, Arqiva is trying to reach agreement with the landowner to speed up the process,” Freeview added