Stockton North MP Alex Cunningham has called on Ofcom to carry out a full inquiry into the “wholly inadequate” response from site operator Arqiva to the ongoing issues at the Bilsdale Transmitter which continues to impact people’s TV and radio services almost a month after the transmitter was damaged in a fire.
Writing to Ofcom Chief Executive Dame Melanie Dawes with his request, Alex has highlighted his concerns about the apparent lack of contingency plans from Arqiva, the slow pace of progress of talks between Arqiva and the neighbouring landowner, and the limited support in place for customers – in particularly elderly and vulnerable customers most at risk of social isolation as a result of the lack of services.
Some people could be without a signal for two months, and Age Concern has raised their fears about the impact no TV or radio signal could have on the wellbeing of elderly people.
“As the Bilsdale Transmitter site operator, Arqiva have a responsibility to ensure that services are up and running and people are supported through this process. They are falling short at every turn and I was surprised to hear that the rather than providing a fully staffed helpline, Arqiva are simply providing an automated message for anyone looking to find out when they might get a full service back.
“Last week a 93-year-old constituent told me how, along with her friends of a similar age, they are unable to receive services and haven’t the first idea how to adjust their sets. She told me how lonely she has been without the television, adding that she didn’t want compensating, she wanted a working TV. That is why I’ve written to Ofcom’s Chief Executive, Melanie Dawes, calling for a full inquiry into the response from Arqiva which I believe to be wholly inadequate.”