Spanish police end Sky re-transmssions

Spanish police, the Guardia Civil, have closed down the Telmicro Levante company, which re-transmits a number of Sky and BBC programmes illegally throughout the Costa Blanca and Costa Calida. It is believed thousands of British expats have been affected.

The company operated a microwave distribution system taking a number of popular channels off satellite and re-transmitting them locally. Of a 57-channel package, about 10 were believed to be from UK broadcasters, including Sky and the BBC.

A similar action against the company was taken in May, but apparently the broadcasts returned. The Guardia Civil has now closed down the offices and impounded the equipment causing a big uproar from local customers, who are believed to have paid a yearly subscription fee of around 180 on top of a 500 installation charge.

According to local sources, Telmicro Levante is just one of many companies offering such services along the Spanish costas. It saves viewers the cost of buying their own satellite receiver and dish, but is of course illegal. Local reports say the other re-transmitters have now stopped their broadcasts of Sky channels in the region.

Many expats in Spain have satellite dishes pointed towards their home television DTH services, including BSkyB and Freesat, Canal Digitaal from The Netherlands and Premiere from Germany. Although reception of these broadcasts is also illegal, many people take their card and receiver with them to Spain and maintain a home postal address to keep the subscription active.