EchoStar Wins Back Satellite License

Ruling could pave way for rural broadband Internet access.

by / November 20, 2002
LITTLETON, Colo. (AP) -- Federal regulators reversed themselves and reinstated a license for EchoStar Communications to launch a satellite with high-speed Internet capabilities.

In June, the FCC revoked EchoStar's license for using the high-speed Ka-band frequency because it said the satellite TV company missed construction milestones. EchoStar immediately appealed and submitted a photograph of a satellite under construction with the high-speed capability.

The FCC said Monday that EchoStar should have supplied more thorough documentation in the first place.

No launch date for the satellite has been announced.

Littleton-based EchoStar has said its proposed merger with DirecTV parent Hughes Electronics is critical to developing high-speed Internet service via satellite. The companies are working to amend their merger proposal to satisfy the FCC, which rejected it, and the Department of Justice, which is suing to block the merger.

Bob Scherman, editor of Satellite Business News, said the newly approved satellite will prove EchoStar never needed the merger.

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