A COMPANY in Hampshire which enables millions of people to access TV, radio and mobile phone networks has been named one of the UK’s biggest private firms.

Arqiva is behind around 8,000 active telecom towers and is the only national provider of terrestrial and radio broadcasting.

It works with giants such as BT-EE, Vodafone, O2 and Three, as well as independent radio groups and broadcasters such as the BBC, ITV, Sky, Turner and Canal+ and utility companies including Thames Water.

It figures in the Sunday Times HSBC Top Track 100 league table of the 100 private companies with the biggest sales.

Arqiva, based in Crawley near Winchester, is placed at number 65 in the league table and is the only Hampshire-headquartered company in the list.

It achieved sales of £974million for the year ending June 2018 and profits of £522m.

Chief executive Simon Beresford-Wylie said: “We’re pleased to once again be included in the Sunday Times HSBC Top Track 100, and to be one of the 17 firms headquartered in the southeast with our headquarters just outside Winchester.

“Arqiva may not be a household name, but we are the only national provider of terrestrial television and radio broadcasting in the UK, delivering Freeview services, and digital and analogue radio to the nation’s homes.

“We are also an independent provider of telecoms towers, serving all four mobile network operators meaning that our infrastructure helps connect millions of people and machines, wherever they are.”

The company’s communications tower at Emley Moor in Yorkshire transmits TV and radio to more than four million people and is the tallest free-standing structure in the UK, at 1,084ft (330m).

Arqiva employs more than 1,900 people.

It has around 8,000 cellular phone sites, 1,150 TV transmission sites and 1,500 radio transmission sites.

As well as TV, radio and phones, its technology is vital to the operation of the Internet of Things (IoT) – the term for internet-connected devices and appliances of all kinds.

The league table notes that 48 per cent of Arqiva is owned by Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, 25 per cent by investment bank Macquarie and 27 per cent by other investors.

Amanda Murphy, head of commercial banking, HSBC UK, said: “Once again, Britain’s most ambitious private enterprises have shown their mettle by shrugging off uncertainty, growing their combined sales 14 per cent to a record £220illiobn.

“It’s reassuring that UK businesses are navigating change so confidently and the companies in the Top Track 100 are an inspiration to all.

“The 17 companies in the southeast are the kinds of firms that provide the backbone of our economy, and we at HSBC UK are thrilled to see them thrive.”

London was the dominant region in the league table, home to 34 of the companies on the list. The southeast was second, with 17 of the top 100 headquartered in the region.

Arqiva traces its history to the BBC’s first television broadcast in 1936. It launched the UK’s first DAB radio and digital terrestrial TV networks in the 200s

It provides digital and satellite service and distribution for clients in Europe, the US, the Far East and Australia, including Turner, Canal+ and the Al Jazeera Network.