A SATELLITE launch that is expected to lead to the disappearance of UK channels in southern Spain has gone ahead at last.
The Astra 2E satellite was successfully put into space late on Sunday night – two months behind schedule – after a rocket launch from Russia.
The satellite is being introduced to substitute the old Astra 2D satellite that rapid declined in performance after a few years in use.
“We will all have to wait and see what will disappear from our TV screens and when,” explained Mike Crompton of IPTV internet alternative MediaStreamz.
“The BBC has already made an announcement that it will be using the more powerful UK spot beams which means we are very likely to be losing their programmes here…but nothing has been heard yet from the commercial broadcasters.”
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 converned about the moves, after Channel 5 and various ITV channels vanished from their screens in December last year.
“Are the rest soon to go? I really think so,” adds Crompton. “The signs are we will be losing all of the free to air television services we have been enjoying, which will include BBC radio, and that all of this will happen before Christmas.”