Friday, June 11, 2010

FCC Adopts Rules Governing WCS and Satellite Radio

The saga appears to be over. On May 20, 2010, the FCC issued its Report and Order and Second Report and Order on the rules governing the Wireless Communication Services (WCS) and the Rules and Policies for Satellite Radio. We noticed today that Sirius XM has withdraw its applications for repeaters. Presumably, this is because it now has (or will soon have) the coveted blanket authority to set up repeaters up to 12 KW. That means that within the parameters of the report and order, Sirius XM is now free to establish repeaters wherever it wants without the burden of having the FCC approve each application. It still has to fill out the applications and state the maximum number of repeaters, and the FCC still has the discretion to disallow the maximum number of repeaters, so the authority is not unlimited.

It does mean, however, that the WCS will be operating around the satellite radio band and there could be some interference. Neither side seems to be particularly happy, so the rules must be reasonably balanced between allowing WCS to operate their services and satellite radio to tolerate some interference.

The rules are to take effect 30 days after publication in the federal register.



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Thursday, June 10, 2010

And None for Liberty

On June 04, 2010, AfriSpace Debtor in Possession (aka WorldSpace) filed an application with the FCC to transfer its two geostationary satellites to Yazmi USA. Yazmi is wholly own by-you guess it-Noah A. Samara, the founder of WorldSpace. Samara was also the principle of Yenura, who entered into an asset purchase agreement with AfriSpace Debtor in Possession. That agreement terminated in September 2009. That is when Liberty came in an attempted to purchase the claims of the previous lenders. In the process, Liberty provided a bridge loan of $7.3 million so that WorldSpace could continue to operate. As reported earlier, Liberty terminated its agreement with WorldSpace in March 2010. WorldSpace then filed for an emergency motion of the debtors for an order to approve the de-orbiting of the satellites or abandoning the assets. The de-orbiting plan was approved by the courts with a preference for selling the assets.

WorldSpace proceeded to invite two bids, Yazmi and an unknown bidder (not likely Liberty). Yazmi secured the assets for $5.5 million. Liberty can't be too happy about this. Nevertheless, the courts approved the sale. If the FCC approves, Samara will continue his legacy.

So, WorldSpace (and Samara) hangs to broadcast another day. Samara must have a plan. It is unlikely he has the personal resources to keep funding WorldSpace and there probably aren't lenders standing in line. Who knows. Perhaps Sirius XM will step in.


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