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Dish set to snap up DBSD for $1B

Tue, 02/01/2011 - 7:40am
Brian Santo

Dish Network plans to acquire DBSD North America, a hybrid satellite/terrestrial broadcaster that has just reorganized under Chapter 11.

Dish is set to purchase 100 percent of the equity of the reorganized DBSD. The company's 8-K filing with the SEC pegs the deal at about $1 billion.

The deal remains subject to approvals from the court overseeing the DBSD's bankruptcy proceedings and from the FCC.

Dish has been maneuvering to gain control of DBSD for some time. It is also set to gain full control of TerreStar Networks, another satellite-based mobile communications company it has invested in. TerreStar, which is also in Chapter 11, plans to develop a smartphone service based on satellite connectivity.

With the possible acquisitions, Dish is set to pick up several swaths of spectrum at fire sale prices. The spectrum would give the company the potential to build its own competitive broadband and voice network, filling in the most significant gaps in the communications service bundle that have traditionally held back DBS competitors.

Barrett Xplore
The hybrid-satellite network could be similar to the one that Barrett Xplore is proposing. The Canadian provider today launched WiMAX service in Quebec and the surrounding region.

Barrett Xplore intends to use a combination of wireless and satellite technology for what it's calling Canada's first national 4G network. The company does not expect to compete directly with larger companies, such as Rogers and Bell Canada. Rather, it has an explicit strategy of concentrating on rural areas that tend to be either unserved or underserved.

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