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BBC dismisses reception claims

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The number of people not resident in the UK who would be able to pick up the BBC's channels as a result of the corporation ditching Sky's conditional access system is "too small to worry about," the BBC has said today.

The footprint of the Astra 2D satellite -- the area of the satellite's reception -- is focussed primarily on the UK, but does also extend across France, Iceland and some parts of Spain.

Concern raised by this fact has been two-fold; not only will this mean non-licence payers would be able to access BBC services for free, but it could also cause problems with broadcast rights for some sports and films, which are sold on a country-by-country basis.

Those outside the UK would need to invest in larger and more expensive dishes to pick up signals from the satellite, however, and the BBC points out that any such number would be negligible.

"People in northern France would be able to pick up the signal but any further south and you would have to buy a large and expensive dish," said a spokeswoman.

"They would also have to move their dish and so losing their normal French channels. We are not blase about this but we don't think the problem is a large one."