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BBC confirms Astra 2E satellite change next year

BBC UK satellite servicesSATELLITE UPDATE Most BBC services on Sky and Freesat are to move to the forthcoming Astra 2E satellite in the second half of next year. Coverage will be on a par with the current Astra 2F UK spot beam. That's according to the BBC's Director of Distribution, Alix Pryde, who today went on the record to clarify recent speculation.

BBC One HD variants for Scotland and Wales will remain on Astra 2F, where they moved at the end of last month.

The exact timing for the migration of BBC services next summer will be dependant on the successful launch of SES-operated Astra 2E into orbit next spring. According to Alix Pryde, the BBC expects the migration to occur during the summer. She reassured UK viewers that there would be no impact on satellite reception as a result of the changes:
"Astra 2E and 2F have the same, tighter but slightly more powerful UK spot beams which means that UK households should get a slightly stronger signal.  So if you happened to be on the edge of coverage, you will hopefully get more reliable reception."

Acknowledging that viewers outside of the UK will find reception of BBC services more difficult from next year, she added: 
"I know that this causes unhappiness to some of you living outside the UK. However, it is entirely appropriate because the BBC domestic services are for people living in the UK only. 

For viewers outside the UK, BBC Worldwide offers a number of channels which are available in various territories.  These include BBC Entertainment, BBC Knowledge, BBC Lifestyle, CBeebies along with BBC World News throughout Europe and the rest of the world."

According to internet reports, reception of UK channels including Channel 5 in parts of southern Spain and Portugal is already reported to be extremly difficult since the introduction of the tighter UK spot beam, with viewers in North East Spain, the Balerics and parts of Germany and Denmark needing to upsize their dishes to retain reception, with some viewers unable to install the necessary larger dishes due to their location. As a consequence, in many parts of Central Europe, UK TV reception will become the preserve of satellite TV enthusiasts once all the main free UK channels transfer next year. Sky subscription services, which use a pan-European beam look set to be mostly unaffected by the moves.

Meanwhile, the newly launched Astra 2F is expected to take Astra 2B's satellite load shortly.

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