On Tuesday morning (4 December) a number of UK channels were transferred to the new satellite at 28.2º east, Astra 2F. With this move, came concerns over a loss of channels for expats in countries like Portugal, especially after the loss of Channel 5 following the switch over.
For viewers outside the British Isles in mainland Europe, reception of certain channels currently on Astra 2A or 2B may change or be lost in certain areas after all the new satellites are operational, Astra 2 explained.
Astra admitted that there have been many "rumours" doing their rounds on the Internet, especially ones that overseas viewers would lose all their channels once these changes are complete.
For viewers in some areas of Europe, this may be true, Astra said, but added this depends on which spotbeam Sky decide to use for their channels.
There is no reason for Sky to opt for the UK spotbeam, their channels are encrypted and there are no copyright issues.
There are many expats who have legal subscriptions registered to a UK address, there are many British or Irish pubs and bars that have Sky Sports, these are all income for Sky.
It seems unlikely that Sky would want to lose this income, at this time there are no answers and no guarentees of future reception, Astra argued.
As for the main terrestrial broadcasters, the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5, these are going to use the UK spotbeam and already do on Astra 2D and Astra 1N.
"If you can already receive signals from these two satellites, then little is likely to change over the coming years", it said.
"Again there are no guarentees, the new satellites are the same type as Astra 1N and are almost certain to have similar spotbeams, only time will tell", it revealed in a statement.
Many free-to-air channels currently use Eutelsat 28A at 28.5° east, launched in 2001 it has an expected lifespan of twelve years, there is currently no information on whether this satellite is to be replaced. If not, then many will have to move to the new satellites.
The changeover resulted the following channels being moved: Channel Five (regions 1-5) 5 USA, 5 USA+1, 5*, 5*+1 and Channel Five +1 along with ITV One regions: Meridian North, Anglia West, Yorkshire East, Central South West, Yorkshire East +1 and ITV One London HD, ITV One regions: Central South, Central East, Wales +1, Tyne Tees North +1, West Country South West +1, Channel Four HD and 4 Seven.
Other Channel Four and BBC & ITV services are still on Astra 1N, which can be easily received on small dishes in much of Europe.
Astra 1N will close at 28.2º east within six to nine months and be moved to 19º east to serve mainland Europe.
Reception reports across Iberia are mixed, SkyinMadrid said.
A few regions: Madrid, Alicate, Murcia are better than they were a year ago under the old Astra 2D, but other places have much weaker signal.
Areas with poor reception reportedly include: Costa Del Sol, Barcelona, and most of Portugal, though no reports of reception disappearing have been reported.
There is a report from the Costa Del Sol which indicates dramatically lower signals.
This is in an area which previously could receive BBC & ITV on a 1.2 metre dish a year ago.
The remaining free channels which are still on Astra 1N are likely to move either in the New Year or in early summer.
But according to Astra2.org continental Europe will continue to be served, though they encouraged viewers thinking of purchasing new equipment to wait for further developments.
In the meantime, UK satelite installers and suppliers in Portugal have been inundated with calls from concerned viewers, but have admitted to playing the waiting game to see the extent of the damage caused by the switchover.
For more information, visit: http://www.astra2.org/astra2.html or satelite.co.uk