EchoStar Invests in TerreStar

TerreStar Networks, a mobile satellite service that plans to use broadcasters’ BAS spectrum for its wireless service, announced this week that several companies, including DBS operator EchoStar Corp., have entered into a series of separate agreements which together amount to a $300 million investment in TerreStar.

Along with EchoStar, investors include Harbinger Capital Partners Master Fund I Ltd., Harbinger Capital Partners Special Situations Fund LP and several other companies. Approximately $200 million was available to TerreStar on Feb. 7, and the balance is dedicated to funding the TerreStar-2 satellite.

As many broadcasters know, TerreStar holds mobile satellite service (MSS) licenses that include frequencies in the 1990 MHz and 2025 MHz spectrum, which was previously allocated to the 2 GHz Broadcast Auxiliary Service (BAS). TerreStar will use an ancillary terrestrial component (ATC) to provide additional coverage from ground-based stations. In addition to financing, TerreStar also obtained separate rights to certain 1.4 GHz spectrum currently held by EchoStar and Harbinger.

“These strategic investments will help drive long-term shareholder value and ensure that TerreStar has access to the requisite capital to achieve its operational launch by the end of 2008,” said Robert Brumley, TerreStar president and CEO. “Also, the enhanced nationwide spectrum footprint can help TerreStar accomplish its mission to offer reliable, interoperable satellite-terrestrial communications and next-generation applications for the commercial, government, rural and public safety sectors throughout North America.”

The Terrestar announcement said the financing will be used in part to fund the completion and launching of TerreStar-1. Satellite manufacturer Space Systems/Loral reported that the main body of TerreStar-1 is100 percent complete and reference performance testing is underway. Additional testing will be completed in April 2008. Arianespace has confirmed it can launch the satellite during the Dec. 2008—Feb. 2009 launch window under an innovative “launch on demand” contract with TerresStar.

Doug Lung

Doug Lung is one of America's foremost authorities on broadcast RF technology. As vice president of Broadcast Technology for NBCUniversal Local, H. Douglas Lung leads NBC and Telemundo-owned stations’ RF and transmission affairs, including microwave, radars, satellite uplinks, and FCC technical filings. Beginning his career in 1976 at KSCI in Los Angeles, Lung has nearly 50 years of experience in broadcast television engineering. Beginning in 1985, he led the engineering department for what was to become the Telemundo network and station group, assisting in the design, construction and installation of the company’s broadcast and cable facilities. Other projects include work on the launch of Hawaii’s first UHF TV station, the rollout and testing of the ATSC mobile-handheld standard, and software development related to the incentive auction TV spectrum repack.
A longtime columnist for TV Technology, Doug is also a regular contributor to IEEE Broadcast Technology. He is the recipient of the 2023 NAB Television Engineering Award. He also received a Tech Leadership Award from TV Tech publisher Future plc in 2021 and is a member of the IEEE Broadcast Technology Society and the Society of Broadcast Engineers.