Telesat Canada, the Canadian satellite-service provider,
has reached an agreement with InSight Telecommunications Corp. to form a U.S. sales and
service division aimed at offering domestic and international satellite-transmission
services to broadcasters, cable operators and businesses.
Called Telesat Communications Services, the new division
will be headquartered in Boston with offices in Atlanta and Los Angeles. The company plans
to open additional offices across the country.
Telesat Canada hasn't been heard from much in the
United States since its plan to lease direct-broadcast satellite capacity to
Tele-Communications Inc. and a company called Telquest was rejected by the Federal
Communications Commission in 1997.
The Clinton administration opposed the plan because of
content restrictions in Canada that hamper U.S. programmers, but technically, the plan was
rejected because the Canadian government had not granted Telesat a license.
About one month ago, though, the FCC approved a Telesat
plan to sell service from two existing satellites -- Anik E1 and Anik E2 -- as well as
from the soon-to-be-launched Anik F1, to U.S. DBS and cable operators and communications
companies. It was the first time a company outside of the United States was allowed to do
Telesat plans to launch Anik F1, with 17 C-band
transponders, in July. Anik E1, which provides C-band and Ku-band service, operates at
111.1 degrees west longitude. Anik E2, a C-band satellite, operates at 107.3 degrees west
"This is the first time in 15 years that the U.S.
market will see a new service provider," Telesat vice president of business
development Dennis Billard said. "We serve a broad market in the United States. This
is the next logical step."
InSight provides turnkey content-delivery services to
broadcasters throughout the world. "Now we have the ability to serve customers on
Telesat capacity in a much more cost-effective and flexible manner," InSight
president Keith Buckley said.
Buckley added that Telesat Communications will provide
content and distribution feeds for anybody that wants the service. Telesat will not
provide its own DBS service in the United States, but it would make additional content
available to other DBS operators.
Telesat also said last week that it formed an agreement
with XM Satellite Radio Inc. to manage the satellite-based infrastructure of XM's new
U.S. radio service, set to launch in early 2001.
The service will beam 100 channels of music, talk, sports
and children's programming to specially equipped radios in vehicles and homes across
the country for $9.95 per month.
Telesat will monitor and control XM's high-powered
Hughes 702 satellites from its satellite-control center in Ottawa. The company will also
build primary and backup satellite-control centers in Washington, D.C., and Calgary,
XM has raised about $670 million to build out its system,
including $228 million Jan. 31 through the sale of class-A common stock and series-B
redeemable preferred shares.