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TV signal could be out until Christmas

IT could be Christmas before everyone in the Strabane area has the TV signal reinstated, it has been warned.

Speaking in the wake of Freeview alterations which caused hundreds of  people to lose  their television reception, Ryan Fleming of P&C Aerials referred to the current situation as “completely crazy.”

Following changes to how Freeview broadcasts its channels on September 4, a slew of people took to social media to complain that even a re-tune of their TV hasn’t solved the problem and effectively, they’ve been left without a TV signal.

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Ryan revealed that his company took upwards of 800 calls since the changes were instigated and worse still, more work is coming in all the time.

According to the aerial expert, if a home TV is currently unable to achieve a signal, a new aerial may be required.

“Our bother is that it’s taking us so long to fix each job,” he explained. “There’s more work coming in that we’re able to get through.

“We didn’t see this coming. They changed every transmitter in Ireland to make way for 5G coming. So the TV signal had to be squashed into the remainder of the bandwidth. I think Strabane was sacrificed in the change.”

Earlier this year work took place to update Strabane’s Transmitting Station ahead of changes to the television frequencies. Several heli-lifts were required to alter the antenna at the tip of the TV mast.

This work was part of the 700MHz Clearance Programme that Arqiva undertook on behalf of Ofcom. In essence, the programme was to remove digital terrestrial television signals from a portion of the frequency spectrum in the 700MHz band to make way for 5G.

Whilst most Freeview viewers simply had to re-tune their TV equipment when this change occurred, many others will have to replace or realign their aerial to continue receiving all available channels.

“My father is only after coming from a job in Laurel Drive,” Ryan Fleming continued. “He had to change her aerials… He could see the TV mast from her house but in the end, he had to connect her to the Derry masts.

“It’s completely crazy.

“It could be Christmas before this is over. We’re three weeks in and the work load is getting worse.

“It’s be the start of November anyway before there’s any headway made.”

One affected local resident, who preferred not to be named said the debacle would put people off from using the free to air TV service.

“People will pack it in and go to Sky,” the local man remarked. “Why would you pay your TV license if this is the service you’re going to get? It’s a disgrace.”

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The Strabane Chronicle is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
Registered in Northern Ireland, No. R0000576. 15 Main Street, Strabane, Co. Tyrone, Northern Ireland, BT82 8AS