After years of disagreement we are now only a few days away from a major change in transponder frequency allocation. "I'm surprised this hasn't caused more debate or interest on satellite forums since it was first announced last October. There could potentially be over 250 services on Sky and Freeset needing to switch frequencies and reshuffle uplinks next month as Astra and Eutelsat use slightly different frequency layouts. This includes various big Sky SD and Box Office channels, Comedy Central, BT Sports SD and HD, Zee, National Geographic, Sony, loads of radio stations, plus all the obscure shopping channels".

As a statement says........"The move comes days after SES won an appeal with the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) after arch rival Eutelsat filed a request for arbitration with regard to what it asserted was a breach by SES of the 1999 Intersystem Coordination Agreement. Rejecting any notion of a breach, SES maintained that it had been granted full rights to use German Ku-band orbital frequencies at 28.5 degrees East effective from 4 October 2013 as part of a 2005 agreement with German media service provider Media Broadcast which held a licence for these frequencies issued by German regulator the Bundesnetzagentur. The agreement gave SES the right to use 500 MHz of bandwidth which SES said it would use for DTH satellite television services in the UK and Ireland and for other services inside and outside of Europe."

Eutelsat would only be left with 250 MHx (11.200-11.450GHz with 12 transponders) having lost 500 MHz to SES/Astra.

In any case it looks like Sky are moving their channels off Eutelsat early:

A copy of 11508H has started on 10921H
A copy of 11565V has started on 12304H
A copy of 11603V has started on 12188H

This may pretty well go towards taking up all the spare space on that satellite.

I've also noted BT's whole BT Sport HD offering is on 11.469 H and this will no longer be available to Eutelsat next month. Other major channels are potentially at risk of having no legal transponder available to them from 05 Oct 2013. Of course Astra 2F has spare capacity which has remained unused since launch and ahead of its replacement by Astra 2E when it is launched sometime soon. Maybe that will take up the slack.

Obviously Sky will look after any changes through its EPG and viewers won't see any difference on Sky channels. Some other channels that form part of the Sky package may have frequency problems. The real potential problems will be experienced by non-Sky package channels who currently transmit from Eutelsat's satellite in the frequency band that will be reassigned.

Lets hope the content providers and uplinkers make this a painless change for the end user.