Northpoint Gains on Senate Vote


Northpoint Technology Ltd. scored a lobbying victory over the
direct-broadcast satellite industry Thursday when the Senate Appropriations
Committee voted to back the company on a key spectrum issue at the Federal
Communications Commission.

In a voice vote, the panel adopted an amendment sponsored by Sens. Mary
Landrieu (D-La.) and Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) that would bar the FCC from
auctioning spectrum that Northpoint has been seeking free-of-charge. However,
the amendment would not guarantee that Northpoint gets the spectrum.

Northpoint has a terrestrial technology that shares DBS spectrum to provide
video programming and high-speed data in competition with cable operators,
DirecTV Inc. and EchoStar Communications Corp.

The DBS firms insisted that Northpoint’s service will collide with their
signals and damage reception in millions of DBS homes.

The FCC recently selected Jan. 14 for the auction. Northpoint said it won't
participate in the auction because paying for the spectrum would be financially