Alexandria, Va. -- The Satellite Broadcasting &
Communications Association last week asked Federal Communications Commission chairman
William Kennard to delay approval on Northpoint Technology Ltd.'s proposal to share
spectrum used by direct-broadcast satellite carriers.
Northpoint plans to use the 12.2- to 12.7-gigahertz band to
send terrestrial signals to television viewers in certain local markets.
In a letter dated Feb. 28, the SBCA and several companies
with interests in satellite television told Kennard allowing terrestrial services such as
Northpoint's to share the spectrum "would result in ruinous interference and serious
disruption of services to consumers of DBS" and fixed-satellite services.
The letter was signed by the SBCA, The Boeing Co., DirecTV
Inc., EchoStar Communications Corp., SkyBridge L.P., Galaxy Latin America LLC, GE American
Communications Inc. (GE Americom), Loral Space and Communications Ltd., PanAmSat Corp. and
Pegasus Communications Corp.
The group added that interference could extend beyond the
United States and into Canada and Mexico, affecting foreign satellite services operating
in the same band.
The SBCA said it wants to make sure DBS providers DirecTV
and EchoStar have time to conduct their own interference tests before the FCC grants
Northpoint use of the shared spectrum.
Northpoint responded in a statement last Monday that its
own testing in Washington, D.C., found no harmful interference to DBS signals in the area.
It stated that the company invited both DirecTV and EchoStar to participate in past tests,
with DirecTV participating in its Austin, Texas, tests, and EchoStar declining to
participate in tests in both Texas and Washington.
In its statement, Northpoint called for the SBCA to
"act as an honest broker to resolve the current misunderstanding between satellite
operators and Northpoint."