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WorldSpace Asks FCC For New Satellite

By | October 4, 2004

      Washington-based WorldSpace filed an application with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to launch and operate the AfriStar-2 satellite and to co-locate it at 21º East with the company’s AfriStar-1 satellite.

      AfriStar-2 would operate in the 7025 MHz-7075 MHz and 1452 MHz-1492 MHz frequency bands. AfriSpace, a business unit of WorldSpace, proposes to launch the new satellite in 2006.

      The parent company owns spectrum licenses to deliver more than 100 digital-quality audio channels per satellite as well as multimedia content directly to WorldSpace receivers.

      The company’s application was for a replacement satellite, and it sought a waiver of the commission’s bond and milestone requirements. However, FCC determined that the application was not a replacement application; rather, it looked as though WorldSpace wanted a new satellite. The initial file number, SAT-RPL-20040728-00150, has been adjusted accordingly, and all correspondence concerning this application should reference File No. SAT-LOA-20040728-00150.

      It is unclear whether WorldSpace, which caters to underserved regions of the world, will have the financial wherewithal to launch another satellite. If the company can partner with others that have resources to share, WorldSpace may be able to build a new bird to provide expanded service that reaches all or most of Europe. A variety of challenges have prevented satellite radio from taking root in Europe but that situation could change if WorldSpace can successfully assemble a strong team of partners with the right set of skills.

      WorldSpace is a satellite radio service that serves Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The company and its subsidiaries offer subscription-based entertainment and information services. Content partners for WorldSpace include National Public Radio, the BBC, Fox News and educational program providers. The geographic regions covered by the company encompass more than four billion people.

      (Sridhar Ganesan, WorldSpace, 202/969-6000)

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