DBS Reacts to Disaster


Like others around the country, the satellite industry was caught off guard
by the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, D.C., Tuesday.

The Satellite Broadcasting & Communications Association canceled the fall
SkyFORUM conference that had been scheduled for Friday in Manhattan.

'We at the SBCA express our deepest sympathies to the families and friends of
the victims,' the association said in a brief statement issued late Tuesday.
'Our thoughts and prayers go out to them.'

As of Wednesday, the SBCA had no immediate plans to reschedule SkyFORUM, and
it was still working through contractual obligations related to the event.

From the rooftop of their offices in Alexandria, Va., SBCA workers could see
the Pentagon as it burned Tuesday. 'You could smell it from here,' SBCA
spokesman James Ashurst said.

DirecTV Inc. closed its offices in El Segundo, Calif., Tuesday morning as a
precautionary measure because of its close proximity to Los Angeles
International Airport, DirecTV spokesman Bob Marsocci said.

Direct-broadcast satellite customers at least temporarily lost local
broadcast and East Coast network feeds from New York stations that had
transmitted their signals to DirecTV or EchoStar Communications Corp. via uplink
stations at the World Trade Center. In one instance, a station was broadcasting
the imminent collapse of one of the towers, and the signal was lost at the
moment the building fell.

Most of the broadcast signals were restored via satellite once the stations
switched to uplink feeds from the Empire State Building.

EchoStar fielded requests Tuesday from several government law-enforcement
agencies across the country that wanted to have DBS systems installed in new or
temporary facilities following the attacks so that they could keep in touch with
the unfolding events. EchoStar spokesman Marc Lumpkin said the company worked
with local retailers to make sure the satellite dishes and receivers were
installed quickly.

'We're ready to handle more requests,' he added Wednesday.

Satellite-radio start-up XM Satellite Radio Inc. announced Tuesday that it
had postponed its commercial-service launch and related launch events previously
slated to take place Wednesday. The company's headquarters are based in
Washington, D.C.

'The thoughts and prayers of all XM employees go out to those affected by
these horrible events,' XM president Hugh Panero said in a statement.

The Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing typically
purchases disaster insurance when it plans any big conference, senior vice
president of marketing Seth Morrison said. Still, there's no way to plan ahead
for some forms of disruption.

Morrison said there was no way to replicate the planning meetings that CTAM
had expected to hold with various cable-industry leaders, who tend to congregate
only for big events such as the Walter Kaitz Foundation Fund-Raising Dinner.
Much of the planning -- including an intended meeting on next summer's CTAM
Summit -- will now have to be held less formally, through long-distance
conference calls.