EchoStar reclaims Ka-band license


EchoStar Communications Corp. will get a chance to launch its new Ka-band satellite after all.

The Federal Communications Commission Tuesday reinstated the company's
license to launch and operate EchoStar 9, a hybrid Ku-/Ka-band satellite under
construction by Loral Space & Communications Ltd.

In July, the FCC ruled that EchoStar failed to meet its January 2002 deadline
to begin construction of the necessary satellite and declared the license void.

In appealing the decision, though, the company said that not only had it
begun building the bird, but construction was complete and launch had been
scheduled for the fourth quarter.

With roughly six weeks left in the year, EchoStar officials are reviewing
options for scheduling. EchoStar plans to generate Ka- and Ku-band transmissions
from EchoStar 9, which will operate at 121 degrees west.

Originally, the FCC complained that EchoStar's contracts with Loral did not
guarantee that the Ka-band transponders would be operational.

Data submitted by Loral convinced the FCC that the hybrid plan should work.

The Ku-band generally is used for direct-broadcast satellite transmission, whereas the Ka-band is
considered choice ground for high-speed data and two-way communication needed
for interactive.