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Entries in Satellite (7)


Is Google Embarking on a Video Market Exploration Voyage?

1,000-Acre Satellite Farm in Council Bluffs Incites Speculation, FTTH Hopes

Technology news has been buzzing this week with rumors that Google is setting itself up to enter the video market in conjunction with its Kansas City FTTH project. Google filed an application with the FCC to build a massive, 1,000-acre satellite farm near its current massive data center property in Council Bluffs, Iowa. However, FierceTelecom notes that Google “has remained tight lipped about what it will include” in its FTTH service package…But why else would Google need a 1,000-acre satellite farm in reasonably close proximity to Kansas City, capable of providing “a mix of analog and digital audio, data and video services?”

As the tech community continues to speculate on what may or may not be happening in that large empty lot in Council Bluffs near the Missouri River, the state of Iowa is probably thinking about the jobs that this project might create. According to the Des Monies Register, “The project would likely create dozens of construction jobs, but fewer long-term maintenance jobs.” Council Bluffs businesses and residents are apparently getting their hops up that Google might serve the community with FTTH, too: “The real economic potential is whether a large satellite farm would make Council Bluffs a leading contender for Google’s next investment in its high-speed fiber-optic network...’If that satellite array is feeding Kansas City, you might think that the Omaha-Council Bluffs area might be higher on the priority list’ of getting Google’s hyper-fast Internet service.” Even if Council Bluffs doesn’t get Google FTTH, the endeavor is not a total wash for Iowans. Google’s 2007 $800m data center investment was “the largest capital investment in the state’s history.” If the proposed satellite farm is any indication, it would appear that Google has been happy with its Iowa location—meaning that future investments, jobs and innovation shouldn’t be ruled out even if Google doesn’t immediately deploy FTTH in the area.


Frontier Communications Renews DISH Network Partnership

Source: DISH Press Release

Frontier Communications (NYSE:FTR) and DISH Network Corporation (Nasdaq:DISH) announced a multi-year renewal of their current partnership and the expansion of their bundled service offerings to all Frontier markets. Frontier serves approximately 4 million customers in 27 states with a 100 percent U.S.-based workforce.

Frontier's Custom Value residential and business packages offer customers access to DISH Network's more than 200 HD channels, audio channels, pay-per-view and video on demand movies. Frontier provides a single point of contact for customer service, and a single bill for all telephone, video and high-speed Internet services. DISH Network also gives Frontier customers a front row seat to watch TV everywhere on any device — tablets, smartphones or laptops with its Sling Adapter technology and its Blockbuster movie services.


LightSquared and the US GPS Industry Council File First Report with FCC

Source: LightSquared Press Release

LightSquared, a wholesale-only integrated wireless broadband and satellite network provider, and the United States Global Positioning System (GPS) Industry Council (USGIC), the leading organization worldwide representing the interests of the satellite navigation industry and users, announced both the filing of their first joint report as required by the Federal Communications Commission and the formation of a technical working group required by the FCC.

Last month the FCC granted LightSquared’s waiver to integrate terrestrial broadband network wireless services with satellite communications along with a requirement to complete an interference study. The grant required several interested parties who use neighboring radio spectrum to establish a working group to fully study potential interference concerns and, in particular, to identify any measures necessary to prevent potential interference to GPS.

LightSquared and the USGIC, working cooperatively, issued their first joint filing to the FCC Friday, February 25. It outlines the key milestones for the overall analyses that they plan to conduct together. The next report will be filed in March, and it will provide the FCC with details about test plans and procedures. Joint filings providing progress reports will be delivered to the FCC each month, with the final report due June 15, 2011.


EchoStar to Buy Hughes in a Transaction Valued at $2 Billion

Source: EchoStar Press Release

EchoStar Corporation (Nasdaq:SATS) and Hughes Communications, Inc. (Nasdaq:HUGH) announced an agreement pursuant to which EchoStar will acquire all of the outstanding equity of Hughes and its subsidiaries including its main operating subsidiary, Hughes Network Systems, LLC in a transaction valued at approximately $2 billion, including Hughes debt expected to be refinanced in connection with the transaction.

Under the terms of the transaction, which has been approved by the Boards of Directors of both companies, Hughes' shareholders will receive $60.70 per share without interest, which represents a premium of 31% over Hughes' unaffected closing share price of $46.43 on January 19, 2011. The transaction is expected to close later this year, subject to certain closing conditions including receipt of federal regulatory approvals. Investment funds affiliated with Apollo Management IV, L.P., who own a majority of Hughes' outstanding stock, have approved the transaction by entering into a written shareholder consent.

Pradman Kaul, President and Chief Executive Officer of Hughes, stated, "We are very pleased to announce this transaction as it brings together the two premier providers of satellite communications services and delivers substantial value to our shareholders. By combining Hughes' operational strength and proven record of customer satisfaction with EchoStar's expertise in cutting edge satellite video technology, customers will benefit significantly from our shared institutional excellence."

"There is a unique and compelling fit between Hughes and EchoStar," said Michael Dugan, President and Chief Executive Officer of EchoStar. "With a rich engineering culture, an extensive fleet of owned and leased satellites, and experienced personnel in communications centers around the world, the combination of EchoStar and Hughes will create a powerful leader in video and data transport."


Judge Orders DBSD to Consider Higher Buyout Offers

Source: Bloomberg

According to an article on Bloomberg, DBSD North America was ordered by its bankruptcy judge to consider any buyout offers that top the one recently received from Dish Network (Nasdaq:DISH).  Dish has agreed to buy DBSD for approximately $1 billion.  Dish said it will also provide DBSD with $87.5 million in debtor-in-possesion financing.

Bloomberg reported that two pople with knowledge of DBSD's plans told the news agency that the LightSquared Wireless venture is considering bidding on DBSD and TerreStar Corp.