DirecTV Inc. has ordered a new spot-beam satellite from Loral Space &
Communications Ltd. to help expand its local-broadcast-channel capacity, the
companies said Thursday.
Loral will deliver DirecTV-7S in the second half of 2003.
DirecTV's first spot-beam satellite is slated to launch later this year.
The new satellite was designed to operate from either the 101 degrees west or
119 degrees west orbital locations.
DirecTV delivers local channels from the top broadcast networks in 41
markets. The direct-broadcast satellite provider could be compelled to add
additional local channels in those markets in January, when must-carry rules are
scheduled to kick in.
The new bandwidth may also allow DirecTV to add more markets for local
channels. And the spot-beam birds are expected to provide in-orbit redundancy
for the DBS operator's existing satellites.