The change has made some UK channels unobtainable. SUR
The long-awaited switchover of UK television channels began at around 3am this Thursday morning. All BBC television and radio channels switched satellites meaning that large swathes of southern Europe were no longer able to access British television via satellite.
Due to the positioning of the new satellite, known as Astra 2E, the Costa del Sol area has been one of the worst affected in Spain.
The BBC released a statement that states how the satellite Astra 2D had come to the end of its working life and had to be replaced by the new satellite which covers a different area. It is said that the transfer will improve reception in many parts of the UK. The positioning of Astra 2E means that large areas of southern Europe have lost their BBC signal, while ITV and Channel 4 are reported to be due to disappear as well.
At the end of 2012 the BBC’s then Director of Distribution, Alix Pryde, explained in a blog post: “The overspill of the BBC’s services will be reduced so viewers outside the UK will find it even harder to receive them. 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.”
The affected area
On the situation, Mark Wood of The Sky Doctor said: “All BBC television and radio signals have gone down in the Costa del Sol. It is still possible to receive ITV and Channel 4 signals but they may go down tomorrow morning [for Friday] or if not by then, at some point next week.” He added that all freesat channels including ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 are set to be lost as one group.
While it appears that Mallorca and inland areas of Spain will still be able to get a reception, the Costa del Sol faces being completely cut off. Wood explained: “The switchover affects this area particularly badly due to the coverage of the new satellite. However, the Costa Blanca will, conversely, receive a better signal now than it did previously.”
The proposed changes have been in the pipeline for years and it seems like a permanent shift. David Slader, from Broadband Costa Blanca, stated, “We are 99 per cent sure that the channels that have been lost will never come back”.
Slader said that the areas east and north of the Malaga province have maintained the majority of their signal and will be able obtain all channels. “The Costa Blanca area can still receive a signal and it seems like the cut off area is around Almeria,” he added.
What are the alternatives?
A lack of English language television may now leave many expatriates feeling in the dark and more cut off from home than ever before. However, there are options available.
Mark Wood highlighted that “the solution is IPTV.” Internet Protocol Television is a service whereby channels and programmes are delivered to a television through a broadband connection. It works by connecting a decoder from a television directly to an internet router. However, in order to receive this service users must have an unlimited internet connection.
Some local residents have already reported hooking up their laptops to their television sets in an attempt to continue viewing.
Another option is to install a satellite that picks up a signal from one of the broadcast towers that exist in the area. “The satellite needs to be within line of sight of one of these towers and there are numerous that exist in southern Spain,” stated David Slader.
If these are not possible, residents will have to make do with changing dubbed programmes on Spanish TV back to their original language.