MDS America Inc., a company vying for a slice of direct-broadcast satellite
spectrum, has gained the support of a French government official in its effort
to provide competition in the video-programming and Internet-access markets.
'I would like to take the opportunity to support MDS' . efforts regarding
developing its business in the United States related to broadband wireless
transmission,' said Michel Combot, telecommunications attaché in the French
Embassy in Washington, D.C.
MDS is the U.S. licensee of MDS International, a French company that claims
that it has terrestrial technology to provide video channels and Internet access
without interfering with incoming space-based DBS signals.
MDS International said both foreign governments and private businesses are
either using or testing its technology in 20 locations around the world, from
New Zealand to Kazakhstan.
Combot, in a May 17 letter to MDS America CEO Kirk Kirkpatrick, said testing
in France demonstrated that interference claims were baseless.
'The experiment by the Ardeche County in France using MDS' technology is
clearly demonstrating that this system could be deployed on a large scale,'
MDS America has an experimental license from the Federal Communications
Commission to test its technology in a Florida sugar-cane field.
The company is trying to convince the FCC not to award DBS spectrum-sharing
licenses to Northpoint Technology Ltd. free-of-charge. The DBS industry wants
the commission to keep both MDS America and Northpoint out of its assigned
Northpoint sent a letter to the FCC claiming that MDS America's assertions
regarding the widespread deployment of MDS International's spectrum-sharing
technology were bogus.
In response, MDS America told the FCC in a May 21 letter than Northpoint's
assertions were 'flatly wrong' and cited several examples where spectrum sharing
was currently occurring despite Northpoint's assertions to the contrary.
'We submit that before Northpoint launched widespread accusations of
misrepresentation, a simple phone call to MDS America would have been warranted
and would have saved Northpoint much embarrassment,' MDS America
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