New DBS Channels Hit Auction Block


Three direct-broadcast satellite licenses for carrying a total of 93 channels will be auctioned July 14, the Federal Communications Commission said Monday.

The licenses cover orbital locations at 175- and 166-degrees West longitude with 32 channels each and 157-degrees W.L. with 29 channels.

EchoStar already owns three of the channels at 157-degrees.

Bidding on the remaining channels requires an up-front payment of $2.9 million and a minimum opening bid of $5.8 million, or $200,000 per channel. The other two licenses require upfront payments of $1.6 million each and minimum bids of $3.2 million each, or $100,000 per channel.

The licenses will not reach the East Coast but will cover the rest of the continental U.S., Alaska, Hawaii, Australia and parts of Asia. Licenses for two channels that reach the entire U.S. mainland at 61.5-degrees have been excluded from the auction.

The FCC originally planned to auction all the new DBS channels last August but postponed bidding until eligibility criteria were established.