EchoStar-Backed Firm Accepted for Auction - Multichannel

EchoStar-Backed Firm Accepted for Auction

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South.com LLC, a company backed by EchoStar Communications Corp., was accepted by the Federal Communications Commission to bid next month in an auction for spectrum that EchoStar blocked Northpoint Technology Ltd. from obtaining free-of-charge.

On Jan. 14, the FCC is selling rights to airwaves to provide terrestrially-based video programming and high-speed data.

The agency accepted 14 applicants, including South.com, the Englewood, Colo.-based start-up that is 49.9%-owned by EchoStar. Businesswoman and EchoStar consultant Phanie Sundheim holds South.com's controlling shares.

South.com put up $7.1 million -- the second-largest upfront payment -- for the right to bid for all 214 licenses. Some have estimated the spectrum’s worth at $100 million.

The spectrum for sale is within the same satellite band used by direct-broadcast satellite services EchoStar and DirecTV Inc.

Northpoint failed in its effort to obtain an FCC ruling giving it the spectrum free-of-charge. EchoStar and DirecTV fought the company in every corner in Washington, claiming that use of the spectrum would zap their DBS signals in millions of U.S. homes.

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