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Ofcom publishes report into Bilsdale transmitter fire

Over a million viewers lost TV signal following a fire at the transmitter last August

Ofcom has warned organisations delivering broadcasting services need to urgently review their contingency plans to avoid the kind of transmission failure that occurred at Yorkshire’s Bilsdale transmitter last year.

Over a million viewers lost TV signal following a fire at the transmitter last August. The mast was so severely damaged by the fire that it had to be demolished.

In its review of the incident, Ofcom said that it was “very concerned” by the local impact of the fire, and closely monitored the steps taken by the transmitter’s owner, Arqiva, to restore services to viewers and communicate with affected communities.

While Ofcom adds that Arqiva did move quickly to restore signal, the organisation found that there were delays in getting temporary transmitters, and information provided to affected viewers and listeners was initially very general.

“Organisations that work together to deliver broadcasting services should promptly carry out their own internal reviews to ensure lessons are learned from the fire at Bilsdale,” states Ofcom’s report. “These reviews should consider the adequacy of their plans for recovering services in the event of a major incident, as well as those in place to support and communicate with affected viewers and listeners.”

Ofcom added that it intends to monitor the effectiveness of any any new initiatives put in place before considering whether further regulatory action is necessary.