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Broadcast Partners Sues Over Lopik Restrictions

Transmission services company is seeking a speedier return to full service for fire-damaged mast at Lopik

While clean up continues at the two fire-damaged towers in the Netherlands, Dutch transmission services provider Broadcast Partners is taking the antenna owner, Novec, to court over restrictions on returning one of the sites to full operational power.

[UPDATE (25 August): According to a report at Media Network, Broadcast Partners withdrew the court action this morning after reaching an agreement with Novec to seek a speedier restoration of full broadcast power.]

In mid-July, unrelated fires caused the destruction of the mast at Zendstation Smilde in Hoogersmilde and the shutdown of the Gerbrandy Tower at the IJsselstein/Lopik transmitting station. The Lopik site was switched off before the fire could cause significant damage.

The loss of the two towers compromised digital and analog radio broadcasting to some 80 percent of the country, according to press reports.

Although clean up and reconstruction of the Zendstation Smilde facility is expected to take a significant amount of time, the Lopik site was able to resume broadcasts at reduced power within a few days of the fire.

At the end of July, Novec outlined a plan to restore the site to 50 percent of full power within 28 days though a series of gradual power increases. However, Broadcast Partners argues that it has installed Novec-required fire-suppression and temperature-monitoring equipment at the site, along with additional grounding for the equipment, which should be sufficient for the site to return to full power.

Currently, some Broadcast Partner clients are operating at only 10 percent of their permitted output level, significantly limiting their over-the-air reach.

The court hearing is slated for 25 August.