THE ‘Big TV Switch Off’ could happen any time soon as the Astra 2E satellite has now entered into commercial service.
According to sources, BSkyB, Channel4, ITV and BBC programming will be transitioned to the new satellite over the next few weeks.
Extensive in-orbit tests have confirmed the satellite to be fully operational and performing to specifications.
Expats in southern Spain who are at risk of losing their UK TV have taken to the Olive Press site in their droves searching for a solution to their forthcoming woe.
Most are keen to establish how they can carry on watching the at-risk channels following the satellite switch.
The satellite is being introduced to replace the old Astra 2D satellite.
The BBC has already made an announcement that it will be using the UK spot beams which means British viewers in Spain are likely to lose the signal.
Although launched in late 2000, the performance of Astra 2D declined so quickly that a quick fix was required and all channels were transferred to Astra 1N, a satellite intended for the use of German and Spanish channels.
All of the popular British channels were moved from 2D to 1N early last year and reception throughout Spain improved, especially in Gibraltar and the Balearic Islands, with Andalucia also faring well.
However this is now about to change when 1N will be moved back to its original slot and all British channels will be moved to the new ‘big birds’ called Astra 2E and 2F.
Thousands of expats in Andalucia are concerned about the moves, after Channel 5 and various ITV channels vanished from their screens in December 2012.