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Code of service

Project HD Satellite Upgrade Code of Service 

This Code of Service sets out the support that viewers can expect to receive as part of the Project HD Satellite Upgrade. The programme has been set up to assist any viewers using standard-definition only satellite set-top boxes who are impacted by the BBC’s moving to high-definition only broadcasts of its channels on satellite and to ensure those viewers can still continue to receive and watch BBC TV channels after the changes. 

The programme is called Project ‘HD Satellite Upgrade’. If you need any more information or have any questions, please visit hdsatelliteupgrade.co.uk or contact our helpline 0330 123 1876*. 

What is happening to the BBC channels on my satellite TV set-top box? 

As part of its transition to high definition (HD) broadcasting, the BBC will eventually be switching off its standard definition channels on satellite and it will be replacing each channel, and any regional variants where they exist, with a HD version. Freeview and YouView viewers will not be impacted – although, by the end of April 2023, Freeview and YouView viewers in England will also be able to receive BBC One HD for their region. 

For viewers who already have a Freesat or Sky HD-enabled satellite device (either a HD satellite set-top box or a HD TV that can be connected directly to a satellite dish), this will mean that when you watch your regional version of BBC One, you will be able to see local news and programming for your region, instead of it being replaced by the red screen information message, as has been the case for some years. You will be able to watch your local news and programming on BBC One HD on channel 101 without having to switch channel numbers when local programming is aired.  

Update: on 8th January 2024, the BBC closed all its SD channels on satellite and replaced them with a ‘channel closed’ message.  To continue watching BBC channels, any impacted viewers will need to upgrade their viewing equipment to HD. 

How will I know if I am impacted?     

If you already have a HD device (find out how to check) then you will not be impacted by the closure. You will see your region-specific version of BBC One in HD become available on the Electronic Programme Guide (EPG) and it will be listed automatically in slot 101. 

There are a relatively small number of viewers that still have standard-definition-only (SD-only) satellite boxes who won’t be able to receive the new HD version of BBC One for their region when it launches. Initially, when the changes take place in each region (find out more), these viewers will get a replacement UK-wide version of BBC One (in SD) which does not carry any local news or local programming.  However, in early 2024 (update: 8th January 2024) the SD versions of all the BBC channels will be closing and any viewer still using an SD-only satellite box will lose access to all their BBC channels. 

Update: on 8th January 2024, the BBC closed all its SD channels on satellite and replaced them with a ‘channel closed’ message.  To continue watching BBC channels, any impacted viewers will need to upgrade their viewing equipment to HD.  

Help available 

It’s our job to assist the small number of viewers still using SD-only satellite boxes to upgrade their satellite box to enable continued reception of BBC services. Our help scheme provides information to everyone on what’s happening and the options available. However, we are prioritising our resources for the most vulnerable audience members; those aged over 75 and/or those in receipt of one of a small number of particular benefits. We will provide one solution per household only - this could be either 1 webstore voucher or 1 engineer home visit with box installation. We reserve the right to carry out further checks before your claim is processed - multiple claims per household will not be accepted. 

Our website, hdsatelliteupgrade.co.uk, has lots of information about the options available to those viewers impacted, so that you will be able to continue receiving all your BBC services beyond March 2024 8th January 2024 once all the satellite changes have taken place.  It will also allow you to check if you are eligible for further support. Our full website is now available and includes our eligibility checker tool. The tool enables you to check if you are impacted by the BBC’s satellite changes and if you qualify for further support from the HD Satellite Upgrade help scheme. 

We also have a helpline – call 0330 123 1876*. This will first be active from 23 January 2023 and will be available for viewers who either don’t have internet access or feel uncomfortable using online services. Initially, our helpline will be able to help determine if you’re impacted and to provide similar information to that on our website, with details on what is happening and what options are available. From early March, our helpline will be fully ready to help callers assess if they are eligible for further help. 

Whilst our helpline may be busy at times, rest assured that information will always be most readily available and quickly accessible on our website, www.hdsatelliteupgrade.co.uk. 

All callers to our helpline are supported by trained agents who will establish if the set-top box in your home is impacted and guide callers through the options available. When our helpline service is fully launched from early March, our agents will also be able to identify those eligible for further help. 

Update 8 January 2024: remaining help scheme resources are limited and we would urge anyone impacted by the changes on 8 January 2024, that has still not upgraded their satellite viewing equipment to visit the ‘how to apply’ section of this website for more information on how to upgrade and to understand what support may be available. 

Update 1 February 2024 : Both our contact centre and website (hdsatelliteupgrade.co.uk) have lots of information on the options available.  Our help scheme contact number will remain open until 16 February 2024, whilst information will remain on our website for a few weeks.  Our call centre helpline will operate with skeleton staff and on a callback-basis only between 5 February 2024 and 16 February 2024 (which is the date when the helpline will close.)  During this period, the call centre helpline will operate with a recorded message, between the hours of 9am and 5pm during weekdays. You will be asked to leave your details and you will be contacted over phone by a member of our support team within five days (and before 16 February 2024 when the call centre helpline closes).   

Further help – Freesat webstore vouchers 

Some viewers who are identified as being impacted by the changes may be eligible for a £40 voucher as a contribution towards a replacement HD satellite set-top box. The viewer will be required to meet the rest of the cost of a replacement device. Only one voucher will be made available to an affected household and we reserve the right to reject multiple applications per household. 

This voucher will be e-mailed to you and can be redeemed against a range of products on the Freesat webstore at freesat.co.uk/get-freesat (we will include this link when we email you the voucher details). The voucher cannot be used with any other high-street or online retailer and can only be redeemed on the Freesat webstore. The voucher can be used against a range of devices - from a competitively-priced replacement Freesat box (the Manhattan SX device) that will provide access to all the BBC’s HD channels, to more expensive devices that have a number of other features, such as digital recording, 4K or access to catch-up TV apps like BBC iPlayer or BBC Sounds. Note: broadband internet access is required for some of these features and the Project HD Satellite Upgrade scheme will not be providing or funding broadband installations or subscriptions. 

Subject to a financial hardship test, some viewers may be eligible for a voucher to cover the full cost of a replacement Freesat box to enable continued reception of BBC channels – this voucher can only be redeemed on the Manhattan SX device. 

For those viewers with no internet access or who are uncomfortable using online services, our trained agents on our helpline* will be able to support you through the process. 

Further help - Engineer Visits 

Some viewers who are identified as being impacted by the changes may be eligible for an engineer visit to provide in-home support. For those eligible, the HD Satellite Upgrade home support engineers aim to install a Manhattan SX satellite box that will restore BBC services and all local programming on those services. Once installed, the viewer will no longer be impacted by the BBC changes to its channels on satellite. Only one engineer visit (comprising the satellite box and its installation by one of our engineers) will be provided per household. 

All our engineers are DBS-checked prior to making in-home visits. 

Update 1 February 2024 : For those viewers who are eligible for further support, the quickest way to get your BBC channels back is to take the ‘self-install’ set-top box option – our replacement boxes are simple to install and come with full instructions to help you or possibly a friend or family member to get you up and running.  As of 1 February, we also have a small number of engineer visits available but the install visits (and any follow-up visits that may be required) will only be bookable for dates up until 16 February.  

Who is eligible? 

Those who are eligible for further help through the HD Satellite Upgrade scheme will need to meet the following requirements: 

  • Watching services on the primary television in their home via an SD-only satellite set-top box – we will help you to identify if your satellite set-top box is impacted 

  • Are over 75 or are in receipt of one of the following benefits: personal independence payments (PIPs); attendance allowance, or War Pensioner’s Mobility Support) 

  • We are prioritising engineer visits for in-home support for those in need of assistance with the installation process – however, replacement Freesat satellite boxes are simple to install and all come with clear and simple instructions 

Exceptions to the eligibility criteria listed above may be made: for example, where a viewer with mobility issues relies on a secondary set. These will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. 

Update 8 January 2024: remaining help scheme resources are limited and we would urge anyone impacted by the changes on 8 January 2024, that has still not upgraded their satellite viewing equipment to visit the ‘how to apply’ section of this website for more information on how to upgrade and to understand what support may be available. 

Update 1 February 2024 : anybody who believes they may be eligible for further support based on the above criteria, should contact our call centre on 0330 123 1876* to understand what options remain available. 

Replacement satellite dishes, communal dishes and businesses 

The HD Satellite Upgrade home support team is set up to support residential homes that currently have an SD-only satellite set-top box connected to an existing satellite dish.  It is not within the programme’s remit to install or replace existing satellite dishes or cabling. 

For any viewers living in properties that have a communal satellite dish, (for example, flats where one satellite dish serves multiple homes) – for your individual property, if you are eligible, we can provide you with an HD-enabled set-top box to connect to that communal dish.  However, regarding any work that may be required to the communal dish and cabling system, viewers will need to contact their landlord for additional assistance outside of this scheme.  

Similarly, commercial businesses such as hotels and B&Bs are asked to make their own arrangements through specialist contractors. The help scheme may make exceptions for businesses that support vulnerable viewers who fit in the above eligible categories and support for these properties will be considered on a case-by-case basis. 

Broadband services 

The programme is not able to provide additional support for home broadband services; broadband issues will need to be referred to the home’s broadband provider. 

Requests for compensation 

If you arrange, independently, to purchase a box and/ or use an engineer to install it, we are not obliged to refund any costs you incur. The help scheme is also not able to provide compensation for costs you may have already incurred e.g. through an independent installer, prior to the launch of the HD Satellite Upgrade programme. 

Our commitment to service 

We are working closely with our partners to provide help and support for viewers.  

During February 2023 and whilst our systems are being set up, we will be providing information on what’s happening and what options are available. 

During normal operation, telephone calls will be responded to at the point of the call or if further information is required, we aim to have your callback completed within ten working days of the initial call. 

Update 1 February 2024 : as part of the phased closedown of the help scheme, a callback service will be offered until 16 February 2024. See earlier in this Code of Service for more details. 

We will aim to respond to all written communications via email or letter within ten working days. 

We aim to provide excellent customer service but understand that things may occasionally go wrong. When they do, first tell us the problem and we’ll try our best to fix it. If we are not able to help, or you are dissatisfied with the service we provide, then you can make a complaint. If you aren’t able to complain yourself, you can ask someone else to register a complaint and act on your behalf. Contacting us by phone is the quickest way to make a complaint. There are also other ways to get in touch to complain: By phone – call our UK-based contact centre on our number 0330 123 1876*. 

If you would prefer, you can write to us at the address below. Please include your full address including postcode and a contact phone number, as we may need to call you back. Please send your letter to: Viewer Support Team, HD Satellite Upgrade, PO Box 358, Birkenhead, CH25 9EJ. 
 
Alternatively, you can email our support team on hello@help.hdsatelliteupgrade.co.uk and we'll aim to respond within ten working days. 

We always take complaints seriously and will listen to your case in full. We will respond to complaints within ten working days. Where it is not possible to reply to the complaint within this timeline, an acknowledgement will be sent to the viewer outlining when we expect to reply. If our viewer support team can’t resolve the problem to your satisfaction, we will escalate it to the Viewer Relations Manager for a final decision. 

Data protection and use of information 

We will hold any personal information you share with us in confidence and in accordance with the Data Protection Act (2018) and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) effective 28 May 2018. Go to hdsatelliteupgrade.co.uk to view the privacy policy.  

*Calls to this number are charged at your provider’s standard landline rates and are generally covered within any inclusive minutes allowance you may have.