The BBC have confirmed that “as a result of SES’s fleet replacement programme, BBC services will move in the second half of 2013.”
Regular readers will recall that in February 2012, SES retired Astra 2D and BBC services moved to a new temporary home on Astra 1N. Astra 1N is due to take up its permanent position in 2013 (19°East), so the BBC’s services will move to their new permanent home on Astra 2E (28.2°East) when that becomes operational. SES expects Astra 2E to launch in Q2 2013, so we currently expect to transition BBC services to it during summer 2013.
I hope that clarifies the timings of moves and also that the moves relate to the SES fleet replacement programme, rather than any BBC strategy to change its footprint. That said, the new transponders do have a slightly different footprint, so I’ll explain a bit about that, and why the changes are no cause for concern for the BBC in our requirement to ensure that the BBC’s domestic services are readily accessible to people living in the UK.
In all likelihood the move of BBC services from 1N to their new permanent homes will have no impact on UK households. 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.
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.
One would also assume that the other ITV C4 channels on Astra 1N would move to Astra 2E at the same time.
But there is still the question of what will Astra 2Es reception be like in Spain, and what sized satellite dish will you need to receive the channels on the UK beam…
So it could be that the changes rumoured to be happening on the 16th to 18th December is actually the transfer of some Sky channels from another satellite (Astra 2B) to Astra 2F.
Source: bbc blog bbc.co.uk/blogs/aboutthebbc/posts/Changes-to-BBC-Satellite-transponders-in-2013