BBC Radio to end pan-European transmission on satellite

BBC Radio will move to a UK spot beam.
The BBC's domestic radio stations, including BBC Radio 2 and BBC Radio 4 will cease to be available across Europe on satellite from later this month, according to announcement by the BBC's director of distribution today.

Alix Pryde confirmed that BBC Radio currently on Astra 2A, 11954.00H - and available on a spot beam covering much of Europe would cease - as part of the BBC's closure of services on that transponder. Radio stations would be spread evenly across 10803.00 H and 10788.00V on Astra 1N alongside BBC TV services on a UK spot beam.

Services on Astra 1N are expected to move to replacement satellite Astra 2F in due course; its UK spotbeam can be seen in the picture of this article. The current Astra 1N spotbeam is a little more generous for viewers outside of the UK, according to feedback on satellite forums.

The BBC's domestic radio stations have been on air across Europe since the 1990s, when the BBC's radio stations appeared on UK Gold's analogue transponder on Astra 1, 19.2 East. With the move to digital, they moved to 28.2 East.

Viewers with Sky will see their receivers being repointed to the new frequencies on the 15th October, while Freesat viewers will be migrated on the 16th October. For cable users, Virgin Media's feeds taken from satellite will also change on the 16th October.

Alix Pryde warned "as each of the radio services moves there will be a small outage of a couple of minutes."

Speaking on the effect the move would have on listeners abroad, she said: "It does mean that the radio services will no longer be receivable across much of mainland Europe. But I’m afraid European-beam transponders are not cost effective for us. We broadcast our services for UK audiences “in the clear” or unencrypted (which is what makes Freesat possible) and so for rights reasons we are limited in terms of the services that we are able to broadcast on a European beam. The BBC’s radio station for listeners outside the UK is the BBC World Service, and it is widely available throughout the world. In Europe you can receive the World Service in many different ways including on satellite from Eutelsat Hot Bird 8 at 13° East. It’s also available online 24 hours a day via the listen live link from the BBC World Service homepage."

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