DIRECTV 3 Move Approved

Last Wednesday the FCC granted DIRECTV Inc.'s request for special temporary authority (STA) to relocate its DIRECTV 3 satellite to 82 degrees West Longitude pursuant to an agreement between DIRECTV and Telesat Canada.

Last week I reported that the FCC had sent DIRECTV a Notice of Apparent Liability for moving the DIRECTV 3 satellite without FCC approval. That was not mentioned in the grant of the STA, which the FCC found was in the public interest, noting "The use of the DIRECTV 3 satellite to augment the service currently provided by Telesat's Nimiq 1 and Nimiq 2 satellites helps to assure continuity of service to Canadian customers. This comports with cooperation between U.S. and Canadian satellite providers in times of emergency or capacity need." The FCC Order granting the STA said that even if the STA request was denied, there would be no transponders available for use by U.S. companies, absent further FCC action, because the last orbital location from which DIRECTV 3 was authorized to operate was a storage orbit. A storage orbit cannot be used to provide service to consumers.

For more information on the grant and the technical problems with both the DIRECTV 3 and Nimeq 2 satellites, refer to the FCC Order.