Alex secures commitment from Arqiva on fully staffed helpline – and welcomes further developments to bring more television services back to local people

Stockton North MP Alex Cunningham has welcomed the announcement from Arqiva that a further 100,000 people will be have access to some television services following the installation of a temporary mast – and the news that, following his intervention, the site operator is now gearing up to launch a fully staffed helpline to support customers.

At a joint meeting of Arqiva representatives and DCMS officials, Alex raised his concerns at the pace of the work – with a temporary mast set to be constructed in twenty-one days – and how tens of thousands of people could still be left without signal after this construction is complete.

Alex also repeated his calls for a more comprehensive communications plan from the company. Arqiva accepted that their communications had fallen short and that they were looking to make improvements.

Alex said:

“This new relay station is a welcome development from Arqiva which will mean more people can get television and radio services almost a month after the fire at Bilsdale. However, I can’t help but wonder how faster services would have resumed had Arqiva had a proper contingency plan in place including agreements with other bodies to put replacement masts in place rather than having to deal with these after the event.

“On the call this morning I pressed Arqiva again for them to ensure a proper plan is in place to support people – particularly the elderly and more vulnerable in our society – as they try to regain television and radio services. There are some promising developments on this issue, such a fully staffed helpline I have been calling for, and I hope to get further detail from Arqiva when I meet with their representatives tomorrow.”