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Dominion Heats Up 61.5-Degree Talk

1665 Views 8 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  Mike123abc
Dominion Satellite, the licensee of eight frequencies at what is becoming a coveted DBS satellite location at 61.5 degrees, had strong comments concerning Cablevision's proposal to take over the orbital slot.

Dominion Satellite President and CEO Robert Johnson said his company would have to agree to any new use of its frequencies at 61.5 degrees or any divesture of its authorization at the orbital slot. And Johnson said the company, which operates the Sky Angel Christian-oriented DBS service, has no plans of abandoning its operations at the location or using its frequencies for anything other than what they are being utilized for today.

The executive stressed that Dominion is serious about being a part of the DBS business, just like EchoStar and DirecTV. "We are a bonafide FCC licensee," Johnson said.

The comments came after Cablevision and its Rainbow DBS unit asked the Federal Communications Commission to consider giving the company all of 61.5 degrees. EchoStar, which controls 11 frequencies at 61.5 degrees, operates the EchoStar III satellite at the slot. Dominion uses the bird to deliver its programming, and subleases six of its eight frequencies to EchoStar.

Cablevision, which also has 11 frequencies at 61.5 degrees, told the FCC that its total use of the slot would make it an effective competitor to a combined EchoStar/DirecTV platform. The companies are pushing their proposed $26 billion merger in Washington, D.C.

Johnson said Dominion has not taken a position on the proposed DBS merger.

The 61.5-degree location covers a large part of the United States, but it's not considered a full-CONUS DBS slot, which would cover the entire country. Full-CONUS slots at 101 degrees, 110 degrees and 119 degrees are licensed to EchoStar and DirecTV.

From SkyReport (Used with Permission)
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Except for some underhanded moves by the govt, can they take away 61.5 from Dominion? Especially since they are utilizing the spectrum (it would be another thing if they were just "squatting" on the position)
Originally posted by gcutler
Except for some underhanded moves by the govt, can they take away 61.5 from Dominion? Especially since they are utilizing the spectrum (it would be another thing if they were just "squatting" on the position)
Maybe they could, but hopefully they wouldn't.
It would blantantly favor one company over another.

Why can't they open another slot to DBS? There must be
something else available over the Atlantic or the Pacific.
There are several slots over the Pacific available for use, however, the Pacific slots must also serve Alaska and Hawaii. The problem with an Atlantic slot is that they are all owned by foreign governments and both permission from the foreign government and the FCC would be needed inorder to serve the US.

After reading both reports I don't think Rainbow is after SA TPs rather they want the 11 E* TPs and the 2 unassigned. RL/DBS already has a sat in construction. 9 of the TPs are for LIL spotbeams. 2 are planned for "national" service and the 2 unassigned TPs have been designed in the satellite (incase they get those). If they get E*s 11 TPs and the 2 unassigned they will have 15 "national" frequencies and 9 spotbeam frequencies. This will be just enough to offer a competive service.

It is very doubtful that the FCC will take SA's TPs away from them. They have 2 sats in construction designed for 61.5, they have never been in any FCC trouble, and they are an established business.
I think Cablevision would have more to gain by working with SkyAngel, really. Particularly if they are willing to offer some kind of a discounted, "family friendly" package, they could really leverage all those dishes which are already pointed at 61.5. And hopefully, Angel One could be added as a public interest channel.

I don't necessarily think that Cablevision should just be handed this spectrum, though. I'll have to think about this some more.
I agree jegrant. Cablevision and Sky Angel should work together and target their DBS service as a family service, with Cablevision offering a selection of family-friendly secular stations (like Disney and FOX News), Sky Angel offering the Christian stations, and both working together so both can be on one receiver and one bill.
Originally posted by Mark
both working together so both can be on one receiver and one bill.
That in itself is always a REAL-LIFe problem. I couldn't get my Bell South Local phone service and my Bell South Mobility Cell Phone service to work properly under one bill for several years (and that is just different divisions of same company), having two totally independant and seperate entities share bills is always a mindfield. Single Bill sounds nice in theory, but reality says BAD IDEA.

There were the old Nightmares of dealing with D* and USSB billing (for USSB was D*'s Premium Channel provider). I believe the only way that got solved was when D* just bought and absorbed USSB.
Was Cablevision planning on using the same type of receiver that Dish has? If Dish changes their receivers out to a new platform or over to DirecTv then that would be a LOT of receivers that could be used for their service that they could buy from Dish so that they would not be wasted and that would pay for a portion of the merger or for swapping out the equipment to the new platform, it would help make up costs to Dish/DirecTv.
If cablevision was smart they would start their service with 8PSK.

When I read the news briefs on cablevision I assumed that they wanted the 2 unassigned (I would say they have those 2 in the bag), and the 11 echostar transponders.

If they used 8PSK from the start they could carry 50% more per transponder than e*/d*. This means they could carry 15 standard definition stations per transponder. With the addition of the 11 echostar, 2 unassigned, and 2 they have for national they could have 15*15 stations or 225 national programs.

Echostar has demonstrated with the new HDTV broadcasts in HDTV that 8PSK is a ready technology. They are using some of their oldest satellites to do it with too, echostar 1/2/3 are the wing satellites, and they are able to do 8PSK.

A forward looking DBS company that is starting from scratch can pose serious competition to E/D*. If they use a chipset that will do QPSK/8PSK/16QAM as echostar has just put in the model 6000, they can be backwards compatible with the old technology, and launch 8PSK, and when technology improves go with 16QAM without having to replace everyone settop boxes.

Cablevision capacity:

#Transponders QPSK 8PSK 16QAM
2 (current) 20 30 40
4 (+2 unassigned) 40 60 80
15 (+ E*11) 150 225 300
21 (+6 sub SA) 210 315 420

If they team up with SA and sublease the 6 they could end up with the channel capacity of the current E* in a few years.

Of course echostar will fight tooth and nail to keep this from happening, nothing like having a competitor suddenly appear that could make your leveraged buyout uneconomical by keeping rates low and not letting you pay off your $26billion acquisition.
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