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Federal Communications Commission
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This is an unofficial announcement of Commission action. Release of the full text of a Commission order constitutes official action. See MCI v. FCC. 515 F 2d 385 (D.C. Circ 1974).

Report No. IN 98-9 INTERNATIONAL ACTION March 13, 1998


FCC's International Bureau today granted AMSC Subsidiary Corp. authority to change its space station facility and to operate the new facility temporarily at a different orbital location. The Bureau's action on the application, which was filed in December, came two weeks after the pleading cycle was completed.

AMSC has provided telecommunications service to users equipped with mobile terminals since 1995 via its "AMSC-1" geostationary satellite, which occupies an assigned orbital location of 101 degrees W.L. Instead of continuing to use that satellite, AMSC would lease it to a South African company, African Continental Telecommunications, Ltd.("ACTEL"), which would in turn move it to a different orbital location and use it to provide service in southern Africa. To replace AMSC-1, AMSC would reroute its traffic via "MSAT-1," a satellite currently owned by a Canadian company, TMI Communications and Company, Ltd., and licensed by Canada. TMI operates MSAT-1 at 106.5 degrees W.L. TMI and AMSC will jointly own and operate MSAT-1, which they will move to 101 degrees W.L.

The Bureau concluded that any disruption in service to AMSC's customers would be minimal and that implementation of the proposal would foster more efficient use of satellite facilities and enable AMSC to enhance its commercial viability and obtain funds needed for further development of its system.

This is the first case in which the Commission has been asked to approve an arrangement where a U.S. licensee would share a satellite with an operator licensed by a foreign government. The Bureau's order is conditioned on the outcome of consultation with the Canadian government.

Action by the Chief, International Bureau, March 13, 1998, by Order and Authorization (DA 98-493).


News Media contact: Rosemary Kimball (202) 418-0500.

International Bureau contact: Fern Jarmulnek at (202) 418-0751