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Sat-ND, 16.7.97




Sat-ND 97-07-16
Some Good Points
Some Bad Points


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TODAY'S HEADLINES

SATELLITES
Bingo! Satellite Bingo?
ICO Comes Alive
BUSINESS
Teledesic Woos World's Telcos
TV/COM Spins off Analog Business
General Instrument Triples
CHANNELS
National Radio News Launched
LAW & ORDER
Free Satellite Communications?
Freedom of Speech, Peruvian Style
DIGITAL
Expensive Agreements
ONLINE
RadioWeb: Local Radio Stations Online
FEEDBACK
Sat-ND, HTML format
GOLDEN WORDS
In Demand

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SATELLITES
Bingo!
Satellite Bingo?
Satellite Bingo (SBI) announced today that it has joined with Carlsbad, California based United Transactive Systems, Inc., in a newly formed enterprise, National Gaming Network, J.V. to develop interactive, multimedia sporting and gaming networks and services for the broadcast, cable and on-line markets in all regions -- where allowed by law.
SBI is a diversified gaming and entertainment company whose operations include the Frontier Palace Bingo Hall and Globalot Bingo. "The world-wide gaming market is enormous. Industry experts anticipate operator's gross revenues reaching nine to ten percent or approximately US$48 billion on US$530 billion of handle," knows Ronald Foster, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of SBI.
"We have developed a number of transaction-based entertainment programming concepts such as on-line interactive gaming, providing software and services to integrate and link multiple sites, and operating high stakes linked and progressive bingo, all of which are in various stages of development.
"It is our plan to leverage SBI's expertise in developing and operating bingo facilities, systems, and software to enable SBI to enter into new gaming markets and activities and ultimately, penetrate into the home," Foster said in a statement. [So don't forget to lock the door and close the windows!]

ICO Comes Alive
ICO Global Communications has signed a multi-year agreement worth US$33 million with Etisalat, the state-controlled telecommunications company of the United Arab Emirates. Under the contract, Etisalat will operate one of ICO's twelve global satellite access nodes (SANs.)
ICO Global Communications was established in January 1995 as a private company to provide satellite-enabled global mobile communications services primarily via a handheld terminal. Its current capitalisation is US$ 1.5 billion and it has 47 investors, comprising telecommunications and technology companies, from 44 countries world-wide.
Full operation of ICONET is scheduled to begin in 2000 when all of ICO's ten planned satellites will be in geostationary orbit. The first of them is slated for launch by the end of 1998. The satellites are based on Hughes' well-known HS601 platform. The total satellite launch mass is just about 2600 kg. As a consequence, multiple launches using one vehicle will be possible. Besides, the spacecraft don't need apogee motors to achieve their final orbit.
ICO's Web site informs its readers that "Links between individual users and satellites will be established via service antennas mounted on each of the satellites." [What a surprise.] What's remarkable, though: the antennas will be of 2 metres in diameter each. Each satellite is designed to support at least 4,500 telephone channels using time division multiple access (TDMA).
The design of the ICO system integrates mobile satellite communications capability with terrestrial networks. ICO user terminals include (among others) handheld mobile telephones which offer services similar to normal cellular phones. They will route calls from terrestrial networks through ground stations (called Satellite Access Nodes or "SANs") which will select a satellite through which the call will be connected. Each SAN complex will include 5 high performance tracking antennas and associated control and switching equipment.
Etisalat will provide site infrastructure and operate the SAN which will be built in Dubai. A consortium led by NEC and including Ericsson as well as Hughes Network Systems will design, manufacture, construct and integrate all twelve SANs. They will cost a total of US$2.3 billion.
In June, ICO signed a similar contract with Germany's Deutsche Telekom AG for a SAN in Usingen near Frankfurt. The deal is valued at approximately US$35 million. The Usingen SAN will be a special node in that it will be one of ICO's six centres world-wide that will host satellite control (Tracking, Telemetry and Control or TT&C) facilities that are vital to managing the company's multi-billion dollar space assets. Work on the construction of the Usingen SAN site was said to start immediately.
Satellite Access Nodes (SANs) are a key component of ICO's own global network, ICONET, as they provide space-to-earth interface with ICO's ten satellites and interconnection with the existing terrestrial public telephony, data and mobile networks.
http://www.ico.co/uk/ (Funnily, that site seems to be more up-to-date than http://www.ico.com/ by the same company)

BUSINESS
Teledesic Woos World's Telcos
Teledesic, the "Internet in the Sky" envisioned by billionaires William Henry ("Bill") Gates III and Craig McCaw, is still looking for investors. According to executive vice president John Wolf, Teledesic is talking to major telecommunications companies.
Teledesic is seeking equity investments that could meet nearly half the US$9 billion cost of its planned global 288-satellite broadband network. Wolf told reporters that the talks began in the past few weeks after Teledesic selected Boeing Co as its prime contractor. "As you can imagine, we've had a lot of interest."
He declined to comment on how much Teledesic had spent to date but admitted that cash so far has been no problem with two billionaires as company founders. Wolf also refused to name any of the potential equity partners. Teledesic was in talks with almost all the world's major telecommunications companies.
On the hardware side of the venture, Teledesic's main contractor Boeing will build and integrate the satellites, probably using facilities it acquired last year from Rockwell International Corp. Boeing is seeking bids from major aerospace and electronics companies to provide launch vehicles and communications hardware for the satellites. Both contracts are expected to be awarded by the end of the year.
Wolf acknowledged that Teledesic's launch schedule, which calls for putting 288 satellites in orbit over an 18-month period, was "very aggressive." As a consequence, Boeing may sign up with several launch companies to meet the schedule.
http://www.teledesic.com/
http://www.boeing.com/

TV/COM Spins off Analog Business
TV/COM International Inc., a subsidiary of Hyundai Electronics has announced the spin-off of the company's Analog Business Group to form Aegis Integration Inc.
The spin-off allows TV/COM to focus its product development, manufacturing and sales of end-to-end digital compression systems for cable, satellite, PC and telecommunications customers world-wide. TV/COM will continue to operate as a subsidiary of Hyundai Electronics at its existing headquarters in San Diego.
Aegis Integration will service and support its customers at its new headquarters in San Diego. Under the terms of the agreement, all business related to the SIGMA product line of addressable encryption systems for cable, satellite and MMDS; the ProGuard secure encryption system for commercial satellite systems; and Orion products will be sold and supported by Aegis.
http://www.tvcom.com/

General Instrument Triples
General Instrument Corporation announced the expected schedule for completion of its strategic restructuring plan to separate into three independent public companies: NextLevel Systems, Inc.; CommScope, Inc.; and General Semiconductor, Inc.
I'll spare you the gory details and just tell you the expected result. On July 28, General Instrument Corporation will divide into three separate public companies:

  • NextLevel Systems, Inc., comprised of the Broadband Networks Group, the Satellite Data Networks Group, and GI's Next Level Communications subsidiary, will supply systems and components for high-performance networks delivering video, voice and Internet/data services.
  • CommScope, Inc. is the world's largest manufacturer of coaxial cable and a leading supplier of high-performance electronic cables.
  • General Semiconductor, Inc. (currently Power Semiconductor) is a world leader in the sale of discrete semiconductors.

http://www.gi.com/

CHANNELS
National Radio News Launched
A satellite-delivered national radio news service backed by the BBC World Service and Australian Associated Press (AAP) for community radio stations was officially launched today in Australia.
The non-commercial National Radio News service, an initiative of Charles Sturt University, Newcastle University and community broadcasting stations 2MCE-FM and 2NUR-FM, aims at providing a full national news resource for community radio audiences.
The service has been in operation for three months prior to its official launch and so far serves 19 stations across Australia. "With 130 licensed community stations and a further 100 aspirant community radio groups seeking licences, National Radio News has an important role to play and strong potential for growth," station manager of community radio 2MCE-FM, Ian Stanistreet told AAP.

LAW & ORDER
Free Satellite Communications?
Satellite operators and government representatives will gather in Geneva, Switzerland, tomorrow to finalise a memorandum of understanding on free circulation of terminals used with satellite-based global mobile personal communications systems.
It's yet unclear whether there will be widespread support for the document that was created at ITU World Telecommunications Policy Forum (WTPF) last October -- so far, only twelve countries have signed. Notable resistance comes from Europe. "The Europeans feel they need a European mark on the equipment and European testing standards," said Thomas Tycz, head of U.S. Federal Communications Commission's International Bureau Satellite Division. Iridium representative Patricia Mahoney said European negotiators "went ballistic" on cross-border terminal roaming proposals.
On the other hand, global isn't global according to the United States -- U.S. officials reportedly don't want services to be offered in Iran, Iraq, Libya or North Korea despite signing another WTPF document that calls for non-discriminatory access.

Freedom of Speech, Peruvian Style
Did Peru's government tap the phone lines of nearly 200 prominent Peruvians? I don't know. However, that's exactly what the local TV station Frecuencia Latina reported last Sunday. Only a few days later, Israeli-born station owner Baruch Ivcher, found himself stripped of his Peruvian citizenship.
The government claims Ivcher had failed to give up his Israeli citizenship when applying for Peruvian nationality in 1984. Observers noted that the decision was more likely connected with the investigative reports carried by Frecuencia Latina. As local laws ban foreigners from holding majority stakes in local TV stations, Ivcher now faces selling his stake in the station.

DIGITAL
Expensive Agreements
The German business mag "manager magazin" reports in today's issue that CLT-UFA was paying DM850 million (US$477 million) under the recent agreement with its rival Kirch Group on a common digital TV platform.
In detail, CLT-UFA has to pay DM400 million for the acquisition of a 12.5 percent in pay-TV channel premiere. Taking over a third of Kirch's technology unit Beta Research is in the range of double-figure millions of DM, and on top of this CLT-UFA has to pay for a 50-percent stake in sports channel DSF (so far 66.5-percent Kirch-owned) as well as a respective proportion of the initial losses of Kirch's DF1 and UFA's Club RTL digital TV ventures.
The regional publishing house WAZ, Essen, also plays a role in those deals. WAZ teamed up with Bertelsmann/UFA when they were still quarrelling with Luxembourg's CLT over the country's most successful free-to-air channel, RTL Television. The move terminated the predominance of CLT in RTL. Following the merger of UFA and CLT, Bertelsmann had agreed to set up a new TV holding with WAZ, called BW TV. WAZ will hold a 20 percent stake but has to pay DM565 million for it, 'manager magazin' reported.
Neither of the companies involved so far has commented those figures.

ONLINE
RadioWeb: Local Radio Stations Online
Own a local radio station? Want to get on the Web and even make some money with it? World Media Network has the solution: RadioWeb, the first World Wide Web network created exclusively for the local radio station.
Promising a brand-new business opportunity for radio stations, RadioWeb is an affiliated programme, with each RadioWeb site appearing to the local online viewer to be wholly created by the regional radio station affiliate with the branding being linked to the local station's look, feel, programming and so on.
RadioWeb claims it is the first service of its kind geared for radio. Like a broadcast network, World Media Network will sign an affiliation agreement with one radio station per market. Along with entertainment and news programming, World Media Network will provide RadioWeb affiliates with fully-branded Web sites with revenue producing capabilities.
Additionally, these sites will provide a totally new revenue stream for RadioWeb affiliates via Internet access, Web advertising, classified ads, couponing, value-added promotions and targeted local sales promotion opportunities. The RadioWeb interface allows each affiliate to offer local and national online ads that will appeal to the radio station's current clients as well as attracting new ones.
RadioWeb is a division of World Shopping Network, Inc., Wyoming. World Media Network produces entertainment and promotional programming for the Internet and commercial online services.
http://www.radioweb.com/

FEEDBACK
Sat-ND, HTML format
As most readers will have noticed, Sat-ND has switched to HTML. The vast majority of readers who reacted said they liked the new format -- even though this actually came quite as a surprise to me. Thank you very much for your favourable comments.
There are two problems, however. Firstly, some email clients can't cope with the MIME standard that is used for sending out HTML-formatted messages. Technically speaking, each Sat-ND now consists of two parts: (1) a plain text message, and (2) the HTML-formatted version. Usually, an email client is expected to pick the version it can display -- that is either plain text or HTML.
I hate to break the news to you, but if your email client delivers a double dose of Sat-ND to you, it's a bit out of date, really. So, instead of expecting me to set up two separate mailing lists, wouldn't it be worthwhile considering an upgrade to a more up-to-date email client? Just a thought ;-)
Secondly, and I do take this serious: Downloading Sat-ND from your mail servers now takes twice the time. Am I wasting bandwidth? I don't think so. Do you have a poor connection to your email account? Then you might want to change your provider because there must be something wrong.
Have you ever subscribed to Netscape's Inbox service or something similar? Have you ever considered what bandwidth that occupies, let alone those trendy Web sites loaded with graphics -- each of them larger than a single Sat-ND HTML issue?
The Sat-ND HTML experiment will continue just because it provides a service that in my opinion is much more readable than the previous plain-text version. If I were one of those major players, I'd even claim that Sat-ND now even provides a "much richer reading experience." <g>
Anyway, it still is an experiment as you may have noticed, considering that the format changes from day to day. Today, for instance, Microsoft Word 97 categorically refused to save anything in HTML. How pathetic! I don't really know what this issue will look like... For example, yesterday's Sat-ND looked awful when received with Netscape products (brrr!)
Anyway, I'm going to use Star Office 4.0 tomorrow.

GOLDEN WORDS
In Demand
"There could be five Teledesics and they would not begin to meet the demand. We're amazed there haven't been more entrants."
John Wolf, executive vice president Teledesic, on broadband satellite services


Copyright 1997 by Peter C. Klanowski, pck@LyNet.De. All rights reserved.
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