Northpoint Planning Satellite Service3/21/2002 9:52 AM Eastern
Northpoint Technology Ltd. is planning to change its business model from
ground-based service to a hybrid model that includes both terrestrial and
satellite-delivered data and TV programming.
On Wednesday, Northpoint filed an application at the Federal Communications
Commission to launch a pair of satellites that will enable the company to add
hundreds of video channels and introduce two-way, high-speed-data service that
would no longer include a telephone-return path.
'Most of the content will go straight the consumer on one dish,' Northpoint
president Sophia Collier said.
The satellites would cover the Western United States and allow Northpoint to
offer consumers 300 video channels and broadband Internet access with speeds of
2.0 megabits per second downstream and 500 kilobits per second upstream.
Northpoint is awaiting word from the FCC on whether it can share
direct-broadcast satellite spectrum to launch its terrestrial service. The DBS
industry is opposed to the plan, claiming that Northpoint would scramble DBS
signals for millions of consumers.
'SBCA [the Satellite Broadcasting & Communications Association], DirecTV
[Inc.] and EchoStar [Communications Corp.] have not yet had an opportunity to
review Northpoint's filing,' SBCA president Andy Wright said in a prepared
'Obviously, the FCC should not make any decision regarding spectrum sharing
in the DBS band until all parties involved have had an opportunity to review and
respond to this most recent filing,' he added.