An Independent Scot would still be able to watch the BBC on satellite, surely?
What would happen to Freesat and Sky if Scotland broke away? Photograph: Shutterstock
Last year I had a brief look at What could happen to Freeview if Scotland voted to become independent?. Today it is worth speculating about the use of Freesat and Sky in Scotland following a Scottish split.
I'm pleased to see my earlier analysis of the situation is matched by top media pundit Steve Hewlett - Independence may bring more Scottish content - but can they afford the BBC? - Media - The Guardian .
The "current thinking" seems to be that the BBC will not operate in Scotland (unlike STV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 who will be given no change to their current status) and the BBC's Scottish assets (buildings, studios, radio stations) will be transferred ("seized" if you prefer) to a Scottish Broadcasting Corporation. The SBC would receive the Licence Fee income (you didn't think that was going to disappear in Scotland, did you?).
So, an obvious point is that the current satellite transmission arrangements for the BBC means that the whole range of services would be available to anyone with a satellite dish.
And the answer is yes - and no.
The BBC channels will be there unencrypted. The footprint (coverage area) will remain the same.
However, the programme guide (EPG) is under the control of Sky Subscriber Services Ltd (part of BSkyB) and Freesat (jointly owned by the BBC and ITV plc).
It seems quite likely that the Scottish government would require that the SBS services would appear in the EPG.
Even more likely is that the BBC, if they didn't receive the Licence Fee income from anyone in Scotland anymore, would request Sky and Freesat to remove the BBC TV and radio channels from the programme guide in Scotland.
The result would be that Scottish Sky and Freesat viewers would have to resort to the "other channels" menus on their boxes, and not have the ability to record programmes automatically on Sky+/Sky+HD.