Northpoint Technology Ltd. is accusing a potential rival for federal spectrum
licenses of making false claims about the capability of its hardware to share
frequencies without harmful interference.
Northpoint and MDS America Inc. are seeking federal licenses to share
direct-broadcast satellite spectrum to provide consumers with local TV stations,
cable networks and high-speed Internet access. Both plan to provide the service
using terrestrial transmitters.
In a June 7 letter to the Federal Communications Commission, Northpoint said
MDS America had falsely told the FCC that its France-based parent had sold
spectrum-sharing technology to companies or governments at 20 locations around
Northpoint said that after analyzing MDS America's claims, it found no
evidence that spectrum sharing was occurring anywhere in the DBS band and called
on the commission to investigate.
'In no case does MDS demonstrate where its systems are currently operating on
the same frequency as a DBS system without causing harmful interference,'
Northpoint claimed that its technology would allow for sharing the same
frequencies used by DBS, but MDS America would use frequencies adjacent to DBS
signals, although inside the block of spectrum set aside for DBS.
'This is an example of band segmentation, not a demonstration of
satellite-terrestrial sharing,' Northpoint said. 'MDS' failure to properly
substantiate its claims it made to the [FCC] about its system's capabilities and
track record calls into question its fitness to be a licensee.'
MDS America CEO Kirk Kirkpatrick said Northpoint's attempt to distinguish
between band segmentation and spectrum sharing was baseless.
'We actually overlap DBS signals where we said we overlap DBS signals,'
Kirkpatrick said, citing MDS tests in Lyon, France, which overlap the signals
sent from Astra satellites.
The FCC is reviewing an engineering study on Northpoint's technology.
Northpoint wants to obtain licenses free-of-charge, while MDS wants the agency
to conduct an auction.