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By | June 4, 2007


      Norsat International Inc. made a final payment on its $1 million short-term debt, the company announced May 31, marking the first time since 1983 that the company had been debt free.

      "This is a significant milestone in the company’s renewal efforts," Amiee Chan, president and CEO of Norsat, said in a statement. "The pay down clearly demonstrates our resolve to strengthen our financial foundation on a compressed schedule."


      Israeli direct-to-home operator Yes has seen slow subscriber growth throughout the past 12 months but reduced its overall losses.

      Yes had 542,000 subscribers at the end of March, an increase of less than 3 percent compared to the same period in 2006, according to Bezeq, an Israeli telco which owns nearly 50 percent of Yes.

      The operator’s net loss fell to 48 million shekels ($11.9 million) in the first three months of the year, down nearly 50 percent from 2006.

      Revenues showed steady growth, with first quarter revenues reaching 354 million shekels ($88 million), an increase of 6.5 percent over the previous year.

      Microwave Satellite Technologies

      Telkonet Inc. subsidiary Microwave Satellite Technology Inc. (MST) closed a $9.1 million private placement, MST announced May 30.

      MST offers quadruple-play services, including satellite TV service, to multi-tenant unit and multi-dwelling unit properties. The new capital will be used to pursue acquisitions and drive organic growth.

      "We continue to build and perfect our platform for quadruple-play services in New York City," Frank Matarazzo, MST’s founder and CEO, said in a statement. "With 20 buildings and significant infrastructure in place, we are now ready to implement our business plan to expand in the New York City area — to be followed by other key markets around the country. As part of that plan, we intend to increase our business through organic growth as well as by acquisitions. The funds raised here will enable MST to pursue both of these strategies more effectively."

      Upon completion of the closing, MST executed a reverse merger to become a publicly traded company under the symbol FITX.OB on the Nasdaq market. Matarazzo will remain CEO, while Ron Pickett will serve as president of the public company. Warren Musser, chairman of Telkonet, and Thomas Lynch and Thomas Hall, both directors of Telkonet, also will join MST’s board.

      XM, Sirius

      The League of Rural Voters urged the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to approve the merger between XM Satellite Radio and Sirius Satellite Radio, saying that the combined entity would offer listeners in rural communities more programming options at lower prices than those currently available from the two companies separately.

      "In many rural areas throughout America, commercial radio reception can be extremely limited. Satellite radio has offered listeners in rural areas a robust alternative with hundreds of specialized channels that meet the programing needs of rural America," Niel Ritchie, the League’s executive director, said in a May 31 statement.

      The League cited rural listeners who depend on satellite radio’s emergency and public safety stations.

      IPTV Market

      Research firm In-Stat believes direct-to-home operators in Asia will come under increasing pressure from Internet Protocol TV (IPTV), citing that there were just under 3 million IPTV subscribers in Asia in 2006, but forecasting there to be approximately 33 million in 2012.

      Whether satellite will win the pay-TV battle in Asia, analyst Alice Zhang said "there has been no conclusive evidence showing whether IPTV or cable/satellite TV will ultimately win the customers’ vote. In the Asia/Pacific region, it is expected that both traditional cable/satellite pay TV and IPTV will co-exist at least for the next several years."

      In research on the global broadband market, In-Stat believed the global broadband subscriber base will more than double throughout the next five years. The firm estimated that there are currently about 285 million broadband users and expects users to double to 570 million by 2011. Of those 570 million connections, In-Stat expected DSL to account for nearly 60 percent.

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