FCC OKs bids for Net satellite services

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Thursday granted seven companies permission to offer services such as broadband Internet over satellites.

The satellite companies were given licences to offer satellite services over shared Ku-band frequencies (10.7GHz through 14.5GHz), the FCC said in a statement. The FCC granted licenses to Hughes Electronics Corp., in El Segundo, California; The Boeing Co. in Chicago, Teledesic LLC, in Bellevue, Washington; Virtual Geosatellite LLC, in Washington D.C.; Denali Telecom LLC; SkyBridge LLC and Loral Space & Communications Ltd. in New York, according to FCC records.

The FCC also approved a sharing method for the satellites that would be freely orbiting around the Earth, so as to address the problem of interference between the satellites, the U.S. governmental agency said.

"Today we will have seven companies providing services in the Ku-band. But it is a very complex sharing arrangement and I'm thankful that we were able to work with the industry to come up with this specific type of remedy," said FCC Commissioner Kathleen Abernathy at the hearing, which was broadcast over the Internet.

There will be times when interference will occur when various satellites are in a direct line of communications and on the same frequency, what is know as an "in-line interference event," the FCC said. When that happens, the systems involved will split the frequency band for the duration of the event to avoid disruption of communications, the FCC said.

"We will now, I think, be able to hold real promise for another platform to the home to compete in the broadband space. And that is fabulous because we know that more competitors drive down prices and drives more products and services to customers," Abernathy said.

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