Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star

There is a certain amount of anxiety right now among British expats living in the south of Spain. With a suitable dish - mine is 1.25 metres diameter - we can watch television programmes from the UK. The satellites used for UK television have such a wide footprint that it extends right down to the southernmost parts of Spain. Unfortunately these satellites are coming to the end of their active life and so they are to be replaced by a new array of Astra satellites, beaming from a slightly different geostationary position. Critically though, in order to provide a higher quality of transmission for the UK, it will operate on a much smaller footprint. There were a number of delays in launching the new satellites and then moving them into position. That process is now complete and final testing is taking place before channels start to migrate to their new homes. At that point it is likely that the signals will no longer reach us and so we shall find ourselves withut UK programmes, certainly among those of us who rely on the free to air channels. The difficulty is accessing accurate information; the only people bringing us the latest ‘news’ have a vested interest in selling us their solution, so my own solution is to wait and see what happens. Through the summer months sich a loss would be a minor iconvenience as we watch very little television then. Through the dark winter evenings though, when people tend not to be out and about socialising, there is a certain comfort to be drawn from keeping up with your favourite British programmes. How much longer will we be able to draw on that comfort? Who knows.

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