FCC to Modify Intelsat Licenses

Via TR Daily (subscription):

The FCC’s International Bureau has proposed modifying 21 space station authorizations held by Intelsat North America LLC so as to include conditions requiring it to fulfill public service obligations that were established as part of the privatization of Intelsat under the International Telecommunications Satellite Organization (ITSO) Agreement.

Specifically, the modifications would state that Intelsat shall remain a signatory to the Public Services Agreement with ITO and that no entity shall be considered a successor-in-interest to Intelsat under the ITSO Agreement unless it has undertaken to perform the PSA obligations. Those obligations include providing connectivity and capacity to a group of “lifeline” customers for a predetermined number of years with price constraints.

The ITSO had expressed concern in 2005 when the FCC was considering the proposed transfer of control of certain PanAmSat authorizations to Intelsat that the resulting increase in Intelsat’s debt level could lead to a bankruptcy filing and the voiding of the public service agreement Intelsat had signed with ITSO. The FCC declined to place the conditions ITSO sought on its approval the Intelsat- PanAmSat transaction, but the State Department in consultation with the National Telecommuncations and Information Administration subsequently requested the conditions on Intelsat North America’s space station authorizations that the bureau is proposing in the current order.

Intelsat North America has 30 days from the Nov. 23 release date of the order to show why its licenses should not be modified as the bureau has proposed.