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Opinions diverge on satellite static report

Northpoint Technology and the satellite industry on Tuesday had radically different responses to Mitre Corp.'s independent report on interference.

"Mitre correctly concluded that satellite-terrestrial sharing requires specialized technology like Northpoint in order to be effective - and that without a system such as Northpoint sharing cannot work," said Sophia Collier, president of Broadwave USA, Northpoint's parent company.

The satellite industry, however, also claimed Mitre's report as a victory. "The satellite TV providers and the SBCA have claimed from the outset that Northpoint's proposed terrestrial service would cause harmful interference to DBS signals, and the independent tests conducted by Mitre have unequivocally validated our conclusion," said Chuck Hewitt, president of the Satellite Broadcasting and Communications Association.

Mitre's report, released on Monday by the FCC, found that "sharing of the 12/2-12.7 gigahertz band currently reserved for direct broadcast satellite poses a significant interference threat to DBS operation in many realistic operational situations."

Collier claims this statement does not apply to Northpoint because of the mitigation techniques that Northpoint suggested to Mitre during testing. The report acknowledges that it is possible to mitigate the interference, but the solutions seemed drastic, including shields around satellite dishes.

Mitre recommends implementing these changes among some 15 miillion existing DBS subscribers before dispensing licenses to companies who want to share the spectrum to offer programming services. - Paige Albiniak