From the launch of Sky Digital in 1998, there were four variants, England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland for BBC1/Choice, while there was only the network version of BBC Two.
In January 2002, a red button service was introduced for five BBC1 regions, London, North West, South, West Midlands and Yorkshire during regional news bulletins, finally at the end of May 2003, the BBC went FTA and added the remaining regions to Sky.
I think the Red Button service was only during the 1830 programme too, so it was very basic. They did however use it as an excuse to bin off UK Today, meaning BBC London was suddenly seen an awful lot.
Towards the end of UK Today, they took a few days off over Christmas 2001 (presumably not willing to staff over Christmas when they were about to be closed down). This meant BBC LDN was seen on all platforms on News 24 during Breakfast, a few months after it launch. I recall this caused a bit of excitement on TV Forum at the time as it was the first time the (very new) service had been seen outside of London/SE.
Greg Dyke talks about the decision to go FTA on DSAT in his autobiography. Can't recall the full details but they basically called Sky's bluff and went for it, because they knew they wouldn't be able to pull them from the Sky EPG
without a huge backlash.