Northpoint Technology Ltd. announced Thursday that it has applied to operate
two direct-broadcast satellites to increase the capacity of its planned
terrestrially delivered multichannel-video system.
The DBS capacity -- coupled with other software and set-top-box enhancements
-- will allow Northpoint to offer more than 300 channels and an all-wireless
The company is seeking permission to operate from two orbital slots reserved
for service to Hawaii, Alaska and the Western United States mainland.
Northpoint president Sophia Collier said the DBS capacity is needed for the
company to compete with digital cable and the two 'big spectrum holders' in DBS,
EchoStar Communications Corp. and DirecTV Inc.
Without the satellite capacity, Northpoint's microwave-delivered terrestrial
system would be limited to 96 channels.
The DBS industry -- which opposes Northpoint's plan to rely on DBS spectrum
for all of its transmissions -- urged the Federal Communications Commission not
to act on Northpoint's request for DBS spectrum until additional satellite
requests are evaluated.