In an attempt to help reduce costs after having the licence fee freeze for a number of years, the BBC have decided to reduce the number of satellite transponders used by the BBC will be reduced to six.

This means that two underutilised “red button” video streams will be closed / switched off at the start of October 2011.

And that a number of channels, like BBC News, BBC Parliament, and BBC Alba, will be moving frequencies.

The following channels will be moved from Astra 2A, where there are currently to:

BBC News will move to Astra 2D, transponder 47 (10.80275 GHz horizontal)
BBC Parliament will move to Astra 2D, transponder 46 (10.78800 GHz Vertical)
BBC ALBA will move to Astra 2D, transponder 48 (10.81750 GHz vertical)

Once these channels have completed their move, the “BBC Red Button Sports Stream” will move to transponder 13 (11.95350 GHz horizontal).

Freesat and Sky box users will not notice any difference and your boxes will automatically update. Users of “Generic” or “free to air” receivers will need to perform a rescan of the channels.

This move should not cause any issues for UK BBC TV users.
However, it will have an impact on expats, who use the BBC News TV service to access the BBC Sports Red Button streams on Sky digiboxes. Currently as both BBC News and the BBC Sports Red Button streams are on an “expat friendly” frequency, and they can be receive on “small” satellite dishes. After the move, BBC News will only be available on larger satellite dishes, and so expat Sky box users may no longer be able to access BBC News channel, and so are unable to launch the BBC Sports Red Button stream application. A “Generic” or “free to air” receiver, that does not need access to BBC News, will still be able to receive these streams directly.

Well, at least for the time being.

15 Responses to “BBC to reduced satellite transponders from seven to six”

  1. Brian Winter says:

    Well, let us hope that this move does not cause any problems. The recent re jigging on freeview (via an aerial) casued major problems in the North East with many people loosing red button services and having to do multiple re-scans. I must say, I think that the BBC should have done this long ago. Why should expats who pay no licence fee have access to BBC services.

  2. satandpcguy says:

    Brian Winter: Users in the UK should not see or have any issues – Sky boxes and Freesat boxes hould do the changes automatically.

    Remember that the UK licence fee is a UK Government tax on reception equipment in the UK.

    Although most of the fee goes to fund the BBC, the fee is not a charge to watch BBC channels.

    Portions of the fee is used for other things also – like digital switch over help, and from what I have read, to help develop broadband services in rural areas who have poor or no broadband services (I would have expected this to come from the telecos, not the licence fee), and now to fund the BBC World Service (originally funded with help from the Foreign Office).

  3. Billy says:

    I live it rhodes greece have lost BBC news and the red bubbon service
    But today found a bbc stream on 6713 by accident good picture but no sound

    Any advice would be helpful

    Many Thanks

  4. Tedwina says:

    I spend half the year in Samos, Greece and half in England – so do pay the licence fee (!) but have lost BBC News and BBC Parliament in Greece. I have a HUGE dish but cannot remember its diameter. I can pick up many, many channels (which I assume are on Astra 2A but I am unsure of this). How do I add Astra 2D? I know how to change frequencies but I want to know how to ADD another satellite. Can you help me, please?

  5. satandpcguy says:

    Tedwina: BBC News moved from its nice easy expat freindly frequency, to Astra 2d, and will only be available if you can receive BBC2 England (as they are now on similar frequencies).

    If you can receive BBC1,2, ITV1,2,3,4 then you are already able to receive Astra 2d. IF you cannot then either your dish is not big enough, or it needs to be realigned correctly.

    Sky and Freesat boxes wil automatically look at Astra 2d, so you do not have to do anyting else.

  6. satandpcguy says:

    Billy: the workaround is to go to the sky box settings, and change the preferred language option to ANYTHING BUT English. The audio will be back on the “streams”

  7. Joshua says:

    When I tune in the “Red Button” streams, I have no sound on them. Any way I could fix this?

  8. satandpcguy says:

    Joshua: read the post above yours for the solution.

  9. claire says:

    I ahev tuned in the stream channels but have no sound, i have tried the language option and did not work. I have a sky hd box. any ideas?

  10. satandpcguy says:

    claire: It appears that the BBC have gotten wind of this service and now this “language trick” is on longer available on some of the SKyHD boxes. If you haev access to BBC1 or BBC2 then press your red button and go to the sports streams via the option in that menu. Or, connect a basic free to air (non sky and non freesat) box, and use that instead…

  11. NigeS says:


    Apparently my automatic Motorhome dish used one of these transponder frequencies to lock onto Astra 2, after changing the frequency to 11343 it started to lock onto Astra 2 again ok in the uk, France and northern tip of Spain , but now it still won’t lock on to Astra 2 just south of tarragona and it used to no problem in previous years in this location. Does anyone have any ideas? Thanks

  12. satandpcguy says:

    NigelS Why not try another frequency – a nice strong south beam frequency like 11954H, 12207 v, 11954 V?

  13. Ron Knight says:

    Hello, I’ve been whatching German FTA analogue TV for some years now on an old Cambridge ARD200. Obviously I will have to change to digital by the end of April.
    Among the programs is Eurosport with English diologue.
    My questions are thiese: Which satelite transponder am I pointed at at the moment and do I point the new dish in the same directnon?
    Thanks Ron (retired)
    Please e-mail me.

  14. satandpcguy says:

    German Eurosport (analogue) is on Astra 1 at 19 east.
    German Eurosport (digital) is on Astra 1 at 19 east.
    So you will not have to move the dish, although you will need a digital FTA receiver, and you may need to change the LNB.
    However, note that the digital version of German Eurosport is only available in German. Unlike the analogue version, there is NO English commentaty on the digital German Eurosport

  15. Ron Knight says:

    Satandpcguy, thanks very much indeed for the speedy reply.
    I have ordered a new 60cm dish, universal LNB and a Technomate 3000 D reciever.
    Thanks also for the info on positioning the dish and Eurosport.
    I really appreciate your help.

    Ron Knight