Can we live without the BBC? :: AP
The television switch-off has continued this week as Costa residents weigh up the alternatives of obtaining a connection
As predicted all British Freesat channels, including ITV and Channel 4, have now been lost on the Costa del Sol. The news comes after last week’s satellite changeover which affected the BBC. The new satellite, the Astra 2E, has a different positioning meaning it does not cover much of southern Spain.
The remaining channels were said to have changed satellite in the early hours of Tuesday morning. Some Sky channels are still available as they are broadcast through a different beam.
Mark Wood of The Sky Doctor said last week: “The solution for people wanting to watch British television in the south of Spain is IPTV. However, this does require an unlimited Internet connection. It is not cost effective to obtain UK channels through a larger satellite; it would have to be at least four metres wide.”
There have been reports of a weak BBC signal on a three-metre dish, while some residential developments have pooled together to share a larger dish in order pick up a signal.
The news means the expatriates living in the Costa del Sol area have had to look into new ways of obtaining television from the UK. Some have linked up their televisions directly to a computer, however, the picture quality has been described as temperamental.
Christine Thompson from the Age Care Association spoke to SUR in English and explained how many residents do not want to face the hassle of setting up a new television connection.
“Most of our clients who are over 70 years old are not computer literate and therefore feel unwilling to obtain a service via the internet,” she explained.
While the sudden loss of British channels may feel like a drastic change, for some it is seen as an opportunity to ditch television altogether and spend their free time in another way.
Thompson said: “Age Care has a charity shop in El Zoco that is doing a roaring trade in both books and DVDs; people seem to be adjusting well to not having access to UKtelevision by filling their time doing other things. Before giving advice to any of our clients we are waiting to see what the most cost-effective options are. We have yet to see anyone return to the UK because they are missing their favourite television programmes,” she noted.
Meanwhile Dianne Peel from the British Society in Benalmádena explained how she has lost all UK channels except for Sky News.
“At the moment we are coping fine without television. There are a lot of cowboys out there so we waiting to see what the best alternatives are in the coming weeks,” she said.
Gibraltar also lost its signal this week.However, BBC television and radio are reported to have been recovered on the Rock and it is predicted that in the coming days a normal service will be resumed on all channels.