Dish Network has an orbital slot at 148 degrees West, but it hasn’t used the frequencies available at the position since mid-2009. The slot is valued at $68 million in Dish Network’s accounts, but the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) says that because Dish Network has not used the position then it has lost its ‘rights’ to the slot.
Dish used the 148 deg West position for 32 TV channels, but re-located the channels when the then EchoStar 5 satellite was retired. At one stage Dish had plans to re-locate the EchoStar 8 satellite from 77 degrees West into the slot.
Recently, Dish Network informed the FCC that it still planned to make use of its orbital rights once it had successfully launched EchoStar 16 this coming August. The FCC usually only allows broadcasters a 90-day gap in its occupancy, and it seems the FCC considered Dish’s frequent delays to be one delay too many.
However, the FCC refusal to confirm Dish’s rights means that the satellite broadcaster is now considering writing off the value of the slot during the current quarter-year’s trading. It also says it is considering whether to appeal the FCC’s decision.