Sat-na February,16 1997
Date: Mon, 17 Feb 1997 17:51:39 -0500
From email@example.com Mon Feb 17 17: 55:58 1997
Late Breaking News
JCSat-4 was launched at 8.42 ET from Cape Canaveral Floida.
The next Atlaslaunch is on March 5th
Late Breaking News
World trade agreement on telecommunications
Negotiations between the 60 plus countries of the World
Trade Organisation participating in the Group on Basic
Telecommunications concluded this weekend with widespread
agreement to open markets to competition for domestic and
foreign telecommunications network operators and service
providers. The agreement is an important step toward
achieving market access for telecommunications companies
working to expand operations beyond their national borders.
The pact removes many of the trade barriers that previously
prohibited foreign carriers from owning and operating
networks in other countries.
The WTO, which includes more than 120 nations, has
worked for more than a year to conclude an agreement binding
member countries to guaranteed levels of market access for
foreign telecommunications operators. More than sixty
countries made binding offers to open their markets for
basic telecom services, with about two-thirds giving access
to satellite services. The access will allow new satellite
services, some still in the planning stages, into countries
where existing regulations would not permit their
Successful conclusion of the negotiations opens the
vast majority of the world's telecommunications markets to
competition. The agreement encompasses over 99% of the
telecommunications revenues generated by WTO member
countries, and well over 90% of overall global
The agreement will enter into force on Jan. 1, 1998.
We have some early reactions:
Hughes Electronics Corp. voices its support of the
agreement. On balance, the agreement will benefit Hughes
Electronics, its customers and suppliers said a spokesman
for Hughes. "We are particularly pleased that there is a
consensus among WTO member countries that our customer, ICO,
is covered by the agreement and will receive the benefits of
its market-opening commitments. We have in development
global and regional mobile, Ka-band and direct broadcast
systems, so Hughes has an enormous stake in open skies
around the world."
"This historic accord, like the invention of radio,
ushers in a new era of international telecommunications
affecting more than half the world's population," said
Joseph T. Gorman, TRW's chairman and chief executive
officer. "Telecommunications are a critical factor for the
growth of commerce, and this agreement is good for
developing and developed countries alike."
"We're particularly pleased that the WTO agreement
treats telecommunications as technology neutral. That means
that member countries will extend to satellite services the
same open markets they are granting to traditional telephone
systems," Gorman added. "This is vital to the growth of
personal satellite communications, which provide a means of
delivering information to parts of the globe not yet served
by wireline or cellular phone systems."
Robert W. Kinzie, Iridium LLC Chairman, said, "This
agreement helps pave the way for introduction of a wide
array of new and exciting services for consumers, including
those offered by the mobile satellite industry. Coupled
with the momentum of the World Telecommunications Policy
Forum sponsored by the International Telecommunication
Union, this WTO agreement greatly facilitates access to
markets world-wide for Iridium LLC and other providers of
global telecommunications services."
Orion Network Systems President & CEO W.Neil Bauer
said, "Orion is pleased with the results of the WTO talks
and the resulting agreement. It allows companies, such as
Orion, to more effectively compete in the international
satellite services marketplace.
"Orion is pleased to have received assurance from USTR
(U.S. Trade representative that the US Government still
retains its ability to protect competition in the US market,
and that such ability may include the denial of market
access to a privatised affiliate or other spin-off of
Intelsat if any anti-competitive result would otherwise
"Just as some nations have already opened up their
telecommunications services markets to competition, we
welcome this bold move to liberalise telecommunications
markets around the world," said Henry Schacht, chairman and
chief executive officer, Lucent Technologies. "This
agreement guarantees consumers around the world will have
new choices in how they receive telecommunications services.
Telecommunications consumers are big winners."
Jonathan B. Sallet, MCI Chief Policy Counsel said, "The
history of MCI is powerful evidence of a simple truth: When
competition replaces monopoly, tangible benefits come to
consumers_lower prices, higher quality, greater choice.
Bernard J. Ebbers, President and CEO of WorldCom, Inc.
said, "WorldCom congratulates the members of the World Trade
Organisation on the successful conclusion of an agreement on
the liberalisation of basic telecommunications services.
"As one of the largest U.S. providers of international
services and as a provider of services in overseas markets,
WorldCom looks forward to the new and expanded opportunities
that the WTO agreement will provide. WorldCom believes that
successful conclusion of the agreement will accelerate the
world-wide development of telecommunications services and
infrastructure, and thereby accelerate global economic
16 to 1 Digital Video Compression
General Instrument said that the capability to transmit
16 video channels on a single 24 megahertz satellite
transponder will soon be available for commercial
This increased channel capacity, which provides 16
digital channels in the same space as one of today's
analogue TV channels, will be available later this Spring.
The product is designed to meet the needs of a wide range of
applications, including consumer DTH; commercial
programmers and broadcasters; and distance learning, as well
as cable and MMDS operators.
In the past, only eight to 10 channels were available
at acceptable quality levels. This increased digital video
capacity is made possible through application of GI's
statistical multiplexing ("stat mux") capability. Through
this technology, 14 of the 16 channels provide programming,
and two channels are reserved for redundancy.
Stat mux examines all the incoming video feeds as a
group, and dynamically assigns compression bit rates based
upon the complexity and motion in each feed. The basic
premise is that, at any given time, there will be some feeds
that have a lot of motion, some with very little, and some
that are "average."
Stat mux works by having all of the channels that are
included in a stat mux group report their compression
demands to one decision maker---the Packet Muliplexer. The
PM considers all of the demands, decides on the bit rate to
assign to each channel, then communicates that decision back
to each channel. This "negotiation" for bit rate takes
place about 35 times per video frame---about 1,000 times per
second--- to ensure that even the slightest change in
scene complexity becomes part of the decision-making
FCC Streamlined application
The FCC has adopted rules and policies to streamline
application and licensing requirements for satellite space
and earth stations under the Commission's rules regarding
satellite communications. Among other things, the Commission
has waved the construction permit requirement for satellite
space stations and modifies the license term for temporary
fixed earth stations and the implementation period for Very
Small Aperture Terminal ("VSAT") earth stations. The Report
and Order amends minor modifications for earth station and
inclined orbit operations of space stations, and application
and licensing forms. The adopted rule changes will become
effective upon approval by the Office of Management and
Budget of the modified information collection requirements,
but no sooner than April 11, 1997.
Westinghouse/CBS To Acquire TNN and CMT
Westinghouse Electric Corporation and Gaylord
Entertainment Company have signed a definitive agreement
whereby Westinghouse will acquire, through a plan of merger,
Gaylord Entertainment's two major cable networks_TNN: The
Nashville Network and CMT:
Country Music Television. The acquisition includes
domestic and international operations of TNN, the U.S. and
Canadian operations of CMT and approximately $50 million of
Gaylord Entertainment shareholders will receive $1.55
billion in Westinghouse common stock. The transaction is
intended to be tax-free to Gaylord Entertainment and its
Since 1982, Westinghouse's Group W Satellite
Communications (GWSC) and Gaylord Entertainment have had a
long standing relationship in cable programming. Gaylord
Entertainment provides the programming content of TNN and
CMT, while GWSC provides the affiliate relations,
advertising sales and marketing for the networks.
Galaxis Holding GmbH Reports Increased Earnings
Galaxis Holding GmbH, a consumer electronics company
specialising in satellite technology, announced that it
ended the business year with a 17% increase in turnover to
DM 175 million.
Galaxis is one of just four companies participating
in the introduction of digital television in Europe,
offering transmission and receiver technology. A strategic
alliance formed with the Korean Samsung Corporation made
this possible. Satellite receivers (Set Top Boxes) for
digital Pay TV manufactured by Samsung in Korea are marketed
in Europe by Galaxis exclusively under its own label.
In September 1996 Galaxis introduced the Future IMT
(integrated Multifeed Technology) satellite antenna, which
integrates for the first time both analogue and digital
reception of ASTRA and Eutelsat satellite programs in a
single receiver module (LNB). Galaxis manufactures the
Future IMT in the company's own production facilities in
Galaxis also works closely with various European
providers of Pay TV services, such as Telepiu, in Italy.
Galaxis markets its products in Italy through a nation-wide
network of 130 Galaxis service centres. Similar joint-
arrangements were started in 1996 in Scandinavia and the
Benelux countries since 1996. In December 1996 Galaxis
signed an agreement with the Scandinavian broadcaster
MultiChoice Nordic; this opens up the markets of Denmark,
Finland, Norway and Sweden for Galaxis products.
MBC signs a new contract
MBC has signed a new twelve year contract with BT for
uplinking services on the Hot Bird 5 satellite. BT currently
supplies uplink services for MBC on EUTELSAT II F1 and the
contract will allow MBC to migrate seamlessly to the new Hot
Bird 5, which will be collocated at the 13 degrees East
orbital position. The service will continue to be remotely
monitored and controlled from BT's London Teleport.
Launching in 1998, Hot Bird 5 will offer MBC satellite
coverage and access to the expanding direct-to-home and
cable television markets. The satellite will also give MBC
access to cable and MMDS systems in the Middle East.
MBC is available throughout the Middle East. Europe.
North Africa and Central Africa on EUTELSAT and Arabsat. Its
programmes are also seen in the US. Canada and Central
America through the ANA Television Network (ARAB-NET G6/10).
AlphaStar Canada Successfully Broadcasting 70 Test Signals
Tee-Comm Electronics Inc. reports that its Milton
uplink centre is fully operational, and currently test-
broadcasting 70 fully-addressable, encrypted services in
anticipation of the launch of its broadcasting subsidiary,
AlphaStar Canada. Pending license approval, AlphaStar Canada
is ready to be the first fully-operational provider of
digital direct-to-home (DTH) satellite television in the
Our technical people have been working diligently since
our December CRTC hearing to meet our commitment to the
Commission to be up and running thirty days after receiving
our license," said Pat Keeffe, Vice President, Network
Operations and Satellite Services, AlphaStar Canada. Our
first priority is to deliver on this commitment and provide
Canadians with the digital direct-to-home (DTH) service they
have been waiting for."
The channels currently being test-broadcast include all
major Canadian networks in English and French, most approved
U.S. services, and several international channels. In
addition to this video line-up, AlphaStar Canada is test-
broadcasting a number of digital audio channels.
Airtouch, Loral, And Cancom Reach Agreement
Cancom has reached an agreement in principle with
AirTouch Satellite Services and Loral Space & Communications
to form a joint venture to provide fixed and mobile wireless
services throughout Canada using the Globalstar satellite-
based communications system. Cancom would own the majority
interest in Globalstar Canada, pending approval by Industry
With this announcement, Canada joins a group of over
100 countries planning to offer voice, data, and fax
services via Globalstar's low earth orbit (LEO) satellite
system. Globalstar L.P. is a partnership of leading
international satellite and telecommunications manufacturers
and cellular operators constructing a $2.5 billion system of
48 LEO satellites to provide global mobile communications.
The Globalstar system is expected to provide an array of
affordable mobile satellite services, including basic voice
telephony, enhanced telephony services such as call
forwarding, conferencing, and call waiting, data, messaging
and fax services, paging, and position locating services
virtually anywhere in the world.
Globalstar Canada will be particularly useful in remote
areas that have no wireless or wireline telephony service.
The Globalstar venture is well aligned with Cancom's
corporate mission to provide a wide range of satellite-based
services to remote and underserved communities across
Canada. The Globalstar system is designed to connect with
existing terrestrial switching networks and will complement
Canada's cellular and PCS providers by providing services in
areas without cellular coverage.
Globalstar's customers will place or receive calls
using hand-held, vehicle-mounted or fixed terrestrial
terminals. Both the hand-held and vehicle-mounted terminals
are expected to resemble cellular telephones. The fixed
terminals will resemble conventional telephone booths.
Globalstar is developing terminals capable of accessing both
the Globalstar satellite system and the user's terrestrial
cellular service. The primary markets are expected to be
customers who travel world-wide and need a single reliable
phone connection, and customers who travel in North America
beyond the range of normal cellular telephone systems.
On behalf of Globalstar Canada, Cancom has filed an
application with Industry Canada for approval to build and
operate the Canadian gateways for the Globalstar system.
Cancom anticipates that Globalstar Canada would begin
providing commercial services in late 1998.
NETV switches to DigiCipher II/MPEG 2
The State of Nebraska's Educational TV Network (NETV)
has selected DigiCipher II/MPEG 2 system to provide a
variety of programming to its customers across the state.
The value of the contract is approximately $1 million.
GI is providing an eight-channel DigiCipher II MCPC
(multiple channel per carrier) encoder, as well as an Uplink
Control System and equipment to supply more than 350
classrooms state-wide. The GI platform will provide
broadcast services for distance learning programming to
include adult education, K-12 direct to school, the
University of Nebraska and other state and community college
Next Atlas Launch
" Tempo 2 --March 5th , 1997 1.02 - 2.01 am ET
Next Ariane Launch
" Ariane 4/Intelsat 801 --Feb. 25, 1997 7.17 - 8.11 pm ET
" The FTC has voted to give final approval to the Time
Warner Turner merger. The Commission's action, which was
expected, marked the formal conclusion of its review of the
merger. Time Warner said it was gratified that all five of
the FTC's Commissioners had concluded that the merger
satisfied the antitrust laws.
" GE Americom has appointed Phil Haines as manager,
European satellite services. Haines' will lead the sales
effort for GE satellite services on Sirius 2, scheduled for
launch July 4, 1997. These satellites will be marketed
through GE Capital Satellites - Europe, a GE Americom
" TBS Superstation has acquired the award-winning hit
comedy series ROSEANNE and THE COSBY SHOW from Carsey-Werner
Distribution. Each show will have a five-year window on the
Superstation, with ROSEANNE joining the line-up in September
1998 and THE COSBY SHOW joining in September 1999.
" A Pegasus XL rocket delivering Spain's MiniSat
satellite into orbit, has arrived in Spanish territory in
the Canary Islands. The arrival of the rocket initiates the
final sequence of events leading to a March launch of
MiniSat, the first-ever space mission originating from
" McDonnell Douglas and Space Systems/Loral have entered
into an agreement for five Delta III launches between 1999
and 2001. Delta III backlog is now 18 launches through 2002.
The first Delta III launch is planned for 1998. Designed to
meet growing lift requirements for a wide range of missions,
the Delta III provides a low-Earth orbit payload capability
of 18,280 pounds and a geosynchronous transfer orbit
capability of 8,400 pounds. This is twice the payload
capability of the Delta II.
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