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On Thursday, the International Bureau at the Federal Communications Commission cancelled EchoStar's permit for DBS service at the 175-degree location, a non full-CONUS slot over the Pacific Ocean that has limited coverage of the continental United States.

However, the bureau also issued a separate order saying that it's ready to assign EchoStar DBS channels at any western orbital location, including the 175-degree slot. The bureau said EchoStar requested channels at two orbital locations, one at 148 degrees and the other at 175 degrees, and asked the company to pick one of the locations within the next 10 days for its authorization.

In one of the orders, the bureau admitted that the separate rulings may seem contradictory, but added "different legal standards apply" for each decision. The bureau added, "We intend to monitor EchoStar's milestones and annual reports closely" concerning the launch of service at any of the company's Western orbital locations.

As for 175 degrees, EchoStar wanted an extension of time - through December - to commence service from the orbital slot. In a ruling handed down Thursday, the bureau said EchoStar failed to demonstrate that an extension of its DBS permit at the location is warranted.

EchoStar was required to begin DBS operations at 175 degrees by Aug. 15, 1999. EchoStar received the 175-degree authorization from the FCC in August 1989.

FCC staff wasn't available to comment on the two orders, released through the agency's Daily Digest. And EchoStar's PR staff didn't want to touch this one, saying the company needed time to review the decisions.

From SkyReport (Used with Permission)
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