The BBC is facing exile in up to 6.6 million TV homes in an extraordinary power struggle that could force the government to choose between Rupert Murdoch and Greg Dyke. The BBC announced last week it was cutting free of the BSkyB TV network in a bid to save £85m in encryption fees, but it has now emerged that a contractual arrangement with RTE in Ireland could hamper its plans to go it alone. The BBC currently pays Sky TV £150,000 a year to have the two top slots in the "electronic programme guide" but once the corporation moves to its own satellite, which will also broadcast straight into Ireland, it will no longer be guaranteed the prime positions. RTE 1 and Network 2 channels are guaranteed the two top slots in the Republic and BSkyB insiders have indicated they will not be prepared to move them to make way for the BBC's new unencrypted broadcasts. At the moment both the BBC and RTE can take top slots in the countries they serve because the conditional access technology allows parallel EPGs in different regions. Mr Dyke today insisted he will go ahead with the move, even if the BBC channels were relegated to the bottom of the list on the EPG.