FCC mulls Northpoint options

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Federal Communications Commission staff has presented the agency's
commissioners with several options for deciding on Northpoint Technology Ltd.'s
plan to create a terrestrially transmitted multichannel-TV service.

Among the issues being debated, sources said, are whether to pursue a
market-by-market phase-in and the levels of interference the new service will be
permitted to create.

Sources tracking the decision-making pipeline were unsure about the status of
the biggest question: whether to grant the license to Northpoint, which is led
by CEO Sophia Collier, or to auction it to the highest bidder.

In December 2000, the FCC indicated a preference for the auction approach,
and Northpoint's rivals and direct-broadcast satellite critics said they see no
indication that the commission is changing its mind.

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