Last night, Sunday 29th September, finally saw the launch of the much delayed new UK TV satellite, Astra 2E.

The launch took place at the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, using a Proton rocket.

Astra 2E Launch


The launch had been delayed numerous time from its original mid July launch date, due to a failure of a Proton rocket on an earlier launch.

Eventually, Astra 2E will be positioned at the UK TV slot of 28 east, and it is expected that the channels, like BBC ITV and Sky channels, that are currently transmitting from Astra 1N, the temporary satellite, will be moved over to Astra 2E.

UK viewers should notice no real changes in reception.

Expats may well see changes in the reception of various channels – some are for the better, some for the worst. This all depends on where you are in Europe, the size of your current satellite dish, and the reception footprint characteristics of the new satellite, which will not be known for a while yet!

However, just because the new UK TV satellite, Astra 2E, was successfully launched last night, there will NOT be any changes for several weeks yet – despite some IPTV / Internet TV providers saying “changes are imminent could be as soon as two weeks from today”.

This is because the satellite has to be tested first, and this is done at another location (43 east).

Assuming the testing of Astra 2E is similar to Astra 2F, the first new Astra 2 satellite, that was also launched late September 2012 and operational December 2012, Astra 2E can be expected to be operational December 2013.

Once testing of Astra 2E at 43 east has been completed it will take several days to move from 43 east to the UK TV slot at 28 east. This will be known, as it is possible to track the satellite on various websites. This will be the first indication that something is going to change – again despite some IPTV / Internet TV providers say “You will not get any advance warning of when the actual switch over to the new satellite will take place” !

Only after testing, and positioning, and frequencies are fired up, can reception in Europe, Spain, Portugal, be known. Not before.

So it is more waiting for expats to see if they will be affected by the so called “UK TV Switch Off” that has been the subject of bar talk and rumours for several months.



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