Last updated: February 21, 2008 - 3:19am
GASPING FOR AIR(WAVES)
[SOURCE: Denver Post, AUTHOR: Kimberly S. Johnson firstname.lastname@example.org]
When EchoStar Communications Corp. and DirecTV head to a Federal Communications Commission auction Aug. 9, they're not simply bidding on wireless airwaves but for survival in a broadband world. The satellite TV companies have teamed up under the name Wireless DBS LLC to bid on licenses for Advanced Wireless Services spectrum. The FCC auction of 1,122 licenses, each of which covers part of the country, is expected to raise up to $15 billion. Wireless DBS has made the largest upfront payment - about $972 million - of any bidder. Among the more than 160 bidders is SpectrumCo LLC, a partnership between Sprint Nextel and the major cable companies, including Comcast. EchoStar co-founder and chairman Charlie Ergen is "extremely worried about the broadband play," said Carmel Group multichannel TV analyst Jimmy Schaeffler. "Come Aug. 9, they're going to be all over that bidding table. Echo Star and DirecTV have to have a bundle that they control."
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