Jul 042015

When areas of southern Spain and Portugal lost access to the free to air signals carrying BBC and ITV due to the changes in satellite footprints caused by Astra replacing their old satellite with new satellites, some expats turned to the Intelsat 907 and BBC SATBACK system to continue to receive their UK TV channels.

Essentially the BBC SATBACK system is run by Arqiva and is there as an emergency back up should the links for the Freeview TV system in the UK fail. If there is a failure in the Freeview distribution network, then the main UK TV channels can still be transmitted on Freeview by using these satellite feeds instead.

The BBC SATBACK system is not for public use, and is therefore encrypted. Therefore to use this system expats have to illegally hack into the system.

But this is not an entirely secure type of encryption, and the BISS keys to unlock and gain access to these feeds can be found on the internet within hours of a BISS CODE key change.

There have been constant rumours that this system would change its encryption system, to a more secure encryption system but so far nothing has happened.

( More details of this system can be found at )

However, if you have or are thinking of getting this BBC SATBACK system installed, there is something you should consider before parting with your money (some installers charge over 250 euros for the installation and some a monthly charge to change the codes if and when they change).

Intelsat 907 was launched in 2003 with a expected lifespan of 12-13 years.

So the satellite is coming close to the end of its life.

Which begs the question “What will happen to the BBC SATBACK system expats in southern Spain and Portugal are using for their UK TV viewing?

Will Intelsat replace the existing satellite with a new satellite?
Will the BBC SATBACK service continue on that new satellite?
Will the BBC SATBACK service continue on that new satellite but using a much harder to receive beam?
Or will the BBC SATBACK service simply discontinue?

I would not be surprised if many of those satellite installers selling this BBC SATBACK system don’t know this either, so neither will their clients. But any competent installer should know this, and so should be advising their clients of this before they have the systems installed.

At least if you read this blog, and you use the BBC SAT BACK Service on Intelsat 907 at 27.5 west, you are now aware of the changes that will be coming in the next few years for this system.


  13 Responses to “Intelsat 907 – some useful information”

  1. Yes good info.i was told all about this system by my installer .18 months ago.we have bad internet service so this was the only option for me .if i get 12 months viewing i would be happy as the service requires no internet and no sky subsciptions .and No big dish. All sounds like sour grapes to me ? scaremonger

    Great to watch the tennis and the golf on BBC HD with no break ups atall

    The typical operating life span of this satellite would be 12 to 13 years depending upon how efficient its station keeping is. So is in the final phase operations.

    However I should imagine that the orbital slot will be maintained by Intelsat as it is strategically important to the US government. In my opinion Intelsat will move one of their other platforms to cover this slot if a replacement has not already been commissioned (likely to be Intelsat-37e due for launch in 2017)

    Will the BBC/ITV/Ch4/ still be on there ? .mybe more channels arriving like channel 5.
    We will have to wait and see

    • Wait and see is all we can do, however, I can certainly see if the U.K channels remain on there they will be on the tight U.K footprint and/or with much more advanced virtually unbreakable encryption …just my opinion

  3. Very possible . But with iptv and the broadband company’s offering very high speeds in the future to every house hold in the EU.
    It will not make any diffrence what Satellite you are on.and what Encryption they use.there will always be streeming of some sort

    just for instance a sling box

  4. Intelsat 907 replace / Intelsat 605 in feb 2003.
    This position is very important to the americans
    And they will not want to loose this position .
    So i would expect a new satellite will be inplace already ?

    • I heard something the other day that they have reduced power on the satellite and thus extended its life by a year or two, which is why no replacement has been launched yet.
      Yes it is an important satellite (not just for the american) but is it also used for pan atlantic telecoms.
      The BBC Satback service is not its primary mission, so it is still a question of whether or not the service will continue on the replacement satellite, or if it will be moved to a “UK only” beam on the replacement satellite.

  5. For the price of a TV licence I have a system that gives me reliable HD UK TV on 907. Codes haven’t changed for over a year and if they do they are easy to find and update. You are just scaremongering.

    • Scaremongering – no.
      Keeping people advised as to the situation and potential issues with the system for people to make the best decision – yes.

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  7. It seem they are adding mire channel nit taking them of 27 west.
    Channel 5 HD (11495 V) on Intelsat 907 @ 27.5° West

    • Saw it up a few days ago, but have not yet swung the dish over to confirm it myself.
      Yes, but with the BBC making all these cuts, an I907 not hardly used, it would be a prime candidate for some cash savings….

  8. Channel 5 HD
    Working fine

  9. BBC this is the cheap way and reliable way for back up system.roomors as it that they be moving to inestat 37a in 2018 We will have to wait and see

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