- Sep 8, 2003
From our friends at SkyReport.com
During the past three weeks, in SkyREPORT's "Outside the Box" series, readers have received three sides to the debate surrounding Multichannel Video Distribution and Data Service (MVDDS) and the company most associated with the controversial spectrum-sharing offering - Northpoint Technology.
Northpoint's Sophia Collier addressed MVDDS issues (http://www.skyreport.com/viewskyreport.cfm?ReleaseID=1230), and Kirk Kirkpatrick of MDS America took on Northpoint's claims and lobbied for auctions of MVDDS spectrum (http://www.skyreport.com/viewskyreport.cfm?ReleaseID=1235). David Murray of the Satellite Broadcasting and Communications Association also weighed in on the MVDDS talk (http://www.skyreport.com/viewskyreport.cfm?ReleaseID=1240).
And what about cable's take on MVDDS?
The October edition of the BRIDGE, in the story "Nightmare on Capitol Hill," tackles the history and the arguments dogging MVDDS in the nation's capital. The article states those in the satellite industry already know about Northpoint and talk behind MVDDS. It also offers a warning for the wired competition: "If you’re on the cable side, you'd better read this. This could happen to you."
Those in the cable business said they are observing the MVDDS situation, but strictly from the sidelines.
However, the cable folks are closely watching another potential, yet "serious" competitor ... a savvy businessman from Australia who runs one of the world's biggest media empires. That media giant also has set his sights on one of cable's toughest competitors.
They're closely watching News Corp.'s Rupert Murdoch and his proposed takeover of DirecTV.
Says cable industry observer Steve Effros, "The cable industry is staying as far away from the Northpoint issue as it can." He adds, "We don't really think Northpoint is likely to be a significant player, no matter what happens.
"When Rupert is around, you watch Rupert, not Sophia!"
While Murdoch may be stealing the headlines with his DirecTV transaction, the cable industry also isn't discounting the other satellite competitor. Last week, Comcast's Brian Roberts told a gathering of the Cable and Telecommunications Human Resources Association that the business has "got to be worried about Rupert Murdoch and Charlie Ergen (of EchoStar)."
So, while satellite frets about its No. 1 issue in D.C. today, cable is squarely focused on its dish competition. Let's hope satellite TV doesn't get too caught up in MVDDS to forget there is a "serious" cable competitor out there.
(More on the October issue of the BRIDGE can be found at a new Web site dedicated to the publication: http://www.mbc-thebridge.com.)
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