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All systems go for EchoStar VIII

The Federal Communications Commission Thursday granted EchoStar
Communications Corp. authority to launch and operate its eighth satellite at 110
degrees west longitude.

EchoStar plans to launch EchoStar VIII from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in
Kazakhstan on a Proton K/Block DM launch vehicle Saturday at 1:15

The satellite will use spot beams to carry local TV programming into local
markets. It also will provide additional backup capacity and cover the
continental United States, Alaska and Hawaii.

The satellite will start out at 129 degrees west, where it will be tested for
up to eight weeks.

The FCC ruled that if operating the satellite at the temporary location
causes harmful interference to any other operating satellites, testing there must

EchoStar also announced Thursday that it is offering local TV signals in
West Palm Beach, Fla., including ABC channel 25 (WPBF), NBC channel 5 (WPTV),
Fox channel 29 (WFLX), United Paramount Network channel 34 (WTVX), PBS channel 42 (WXEL) and
independent channel 61 (WFGC).

EchoStar said it was "unable to secure retransmission consent from the local
CBS affiliate, channel 12 (WPEC), and it will not offer CBS in its locals package at
this time."

WPEC's general manager did not return phone calls by press time.