Satellite Service Offers Data Link


Borrowing a page from digital TV's Headend in the Sky, a pair of
satellite-technology providers is offering a way to make high-speed data easier
for smaller cable operators.

Foundation Telecommunications Inc. and satellite operator SES Americom Inc.
have inked a strategic relationship deal to develop a high-speed-data-backbone
system for smaller cable operators.

And the duo has a willing audience: The National Cable Television
Cooperative, which represents some 6,300 smaller operators, has named FTI as its
exclusive satellite-Internet-service provider.

FTI's service delivers Internet content to cable headends at up to 8 megabits
per second via C-band and Ku-band links to SES Americom's "AMC-4" satellite.

The service includes equipment, installation and Federal Communications
Commission licensing, plus technical troubleshooting support. Customers can
either lease or purchase the equipment, and monthly charges are based on either
a fixed percentage of gross Internet billing or per subscriber.

"We believe this service will be a major step toward elimination of the
digital divide by bringing an important communications resource to the smallest
communities in our country," NCTC senior vice president Mark Bishop said in a