The new Bilsdale mast begins transmitting television signals to the Northeast today

A new 300 meter structure being erected at the Bilsdale site to replace the former mast which burned down in August 2021 began transmitting signals at 5am this morning (Monday 22 May). .

However, Shuja Khan, managing director of Arqiva, which operates the mast, said there is still work to be done.

Speaking at a local event today, he said it was the perfect moment to “take a deep breath” almost two years after the disaster.

The mast caught fire unexpectedly on August 10, 2021, leaving hundreds of thousands of people without television or radio reception.

Read more: Bilsdale broadcasters: How events have unfolded since this month’s fire

Since then, Arqiva has been working to restore signals to as many people as possible by erecting smaller relay towers and most recently a temporary tower on the site of the former structure.

Now a new fixed mast has begun transmitting signals from the site, restoring signal to over 99% of viewers in the North East.

Mr Khan said some people might experience impairments but urged those people to contact the hotline on 0800 121 4828.

HD channels have yet to be rolled out within a few weeks and radio signals will be available again in a few months.

The Northern Echo:

Mr Khan said: “We also have to go through the process of decommissioning so obviously we had 16 relay sites that need to be decommissioned and of course this station tower too.”

“So there is still some decommissioning work to be done and then the site restored to its original condition. So there is still a lot of work to be done.”

This week the telecoms company conducted tests of the new mast which Mr Khan said were “positive”.

He added: “We had two days where we flew a helicopter around the tower, but they call it helicopter testing and the signals transmitted well.”

“This morning all the feedback we have received has been positive, the call center has received a few calls but not many and it has been relatively quiet.

The Northern Echo: Shuja Kahn, Managing Director at ArqivaShuja Kahn, Managing Director of Arqiva (Image: Image: THE NORTHERN ECHO)

“For most people who did a re-vote, they got their channels back, so that’s very positive.”

Continue reading: BBC sues Arqiva over Bilsdale mast fire after millions lose TV signal

Meanwhile, Mr Khan highlighted the benefits of the new tower, including being more sustainable, environmentally friendly and fire-resistant.

He said: “You will see that this new mast has a lattice structure compared to the previous tower, which means that the risk of fire is significantly reduced compared to the last mast.”

“As you can see, visibility is much better. So if there is a problem, you can spot it much earlier.

“And of course the components we use have been fire tested and we have made sure all the controls are in place to avoid this.

“In general, this tower has a number of advantages: It is lighter and therefore more sustainable.

“It uses half the energy and electricity and has a smaller footprint. So there are some real benefits in terms of the technology we’re using to make this tower even more superior.”

Continue reading:

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It has been revealed that the BBC has filed a lawsuit against Arqiva for money lost during the mast outage and for being unable to restore service within 18 months.

In the news, Mr Khan said: “I can’t comment on trade disputes. However, I can say that we have done our utmost to get the services back as soon as possible.”

“We have also spent tens of millions of pounds not only to build this tower and the temporary relay sites, but also to provide an aid program to thousands and thousands of people in the area.” The new Bilsdale mast begins transmitting television signals to the Northeast today

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