Northpoint Technology Ltd. made strong accusations that a potential rival is
making false claims to the Federal Communications Commission regarding its
Northpoint and MDS America are vying to share direct-broadcast satellite
spectrum to provide multichannel video and broadband access over terrestrial
distribution systems. The DBS industry views both firms as dangerous
Although Northpoint is a start-up with no licenses or subscribers, MDS
America, the U.S. affiliate of France-based MDS International, claims to be
operating about 20 systems around the globe in the DBS band without causing
MDS America recently obtained an experimental license from the FCC to test
its technology in the middle of a Florida sugar-cane field.
In a May 9 filing at the FCC, Northpoint accused MDS America of
misrepresenting the scope of its spectrum-sharing operations in an attempt to
'deceive the [FCC] and the American business community.'
Northpoint said it examined about 20 locations where MDS International is
operating -- including New Zealand, Korea, and Ireland -- and concluded that
none of them represented a true example of spectrum sharing that employed
Northpoint urged the FCC to use its findings to launch an investigation.
'If the sites listed by MDS are in fact representative, it appears that MDS
is not actually serving any subscribers on frequencies that are shared with DBS
. much less in the 20 countries claimed,' Northpoint said.
MDS America's Washington, D.C.-based lawyer was unavailable for comment
In a May 11 appearance on C-SPAN, FCC chairman Michael Powell fielded a
viewer call from a DBS subscriber in Virginia Beach, Va., who voiced concern
about DBS-signal interference from terrestrial competitors.
'I can just promise you that to the best we are able, we will not license
services that substantially detract from your viewing experience,' Powell
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