McCain Probes Northpoint Relationships
Additional scrutiny is ahead for Northpoint Technology now that Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has launched an inquiry into whether Northpoint has provided financial interests in the company to “well-connected individuals.” Northpoint succeeded in its effort to get Federal Communication Commission approval to use direct broadcast satellite (DBS) spectrum for its terrestrial multichannel video service. But the FCC ruled that the spectrum must be awarded through an auction. Northpoint has since been lobbying Congress for legislation that would give Northpoint access to that spectrum free of charge.
In an Oct. 17 letter, McCain asked Northpoint head Sophia Collier to provide his committee with: “(1) a list of individuals, including shareholders, affiliates or franchisees, who hold a financial interest in Northpoint, including the nature of that interest, (2) any agreements with individuals who represent Northpoint who have been given an option to purchase an interest in Northpoint or a Northpoint affiliate; and (3) details of any other agreements with individuals representing Northpoint who stand to gain financially from the success of your lobbying efforts.”
Responding, Northpoint Executive Vice President Toni Cook Bush charged that the DBS industry was behind the McCain letter. “The satellite companies are trying to prevent the emergence of new competition,” she said.