(RAPID) The European Commission has decided to send a reasoned opinion (the second and final stage before the case is referred to the European Court of Justice) to Belgium on "must-carry" rules imposed on broadcasters in the bilingual region of Brussels-Capital. "Must-carry rules" require network operators such as cable companies or telecom operators to carry specified radio and TV broadcast channels and services where a significant number of consumers use them as their principal means to receive radio or TV broadcasts.
(BBC) Europe's proposed satellite-navigation system, Galileo, faces big delays and cost overruns unless major obstacles to its development are removed - and fast.
A large order for spacecraft must be placed in the coming months if the project is to keep to a 2011-12 target for full operational deployment. But negotiations to set up the private framework that will implement and run the system have now been suspended.
Satellite and Internet radio services would be required to restrict listeners' ability to record and play back individual songs, under new legislation introduced this week in the U.S. Senate. Music industry backs the effort, but digital rights groups say it would erode users' music-listening freedoms.
(BBC) Boeing is scrapping its in-flight high speed broadband service because of lack of interest from leading airlines. The discontinuation of its Connexion service will cost the plane maker $320m (£169m) in one-off charges. It invested heavily in the satellite based system but most carriers have opted for cheaper internet services using cellular networks.
(Reuters) Given the option, most British motorists would prefer their in-car satellite navigation systems to give directions in the well-modulated tones of the Queen's English as opposed to regional accents. A survey of 1,337 people found 57% opted for Queen's English compared with just 2% who said they would enjoy being told where to go by someone with a Birmingham accent.
(RAPID) Arrêt du Tribunal de première instance dans l'affaire T-279/03. Galileo International Technology LLC et e.a. / Commission des Communautés européennes. Le Tribunal rejette le recours introduit par le groupe d'entreprises Galileo contre l'emploi par la Commission du terme Galileo pour désigner le système européen de navigation par satellite. Les requérantes n´ont pas établi que l´utilisation par la Commission dudit terme était susceptible de porter atteinte à leurs droits de marque.
(FT) The US has opened the way for a treaty updating broadcaster' rights for the digital age by dropping its insistence that webcasting be covered by the agreement. The treaty, under negotiation by members of the World Intellectual Property Organisation since 1997, will now cover satellite, terrestrial and cable broadcasts.
(Guardian) Dozens of motorists have become marooned in the river Avon in Wiltshire after being directed into the water by their satellite navigation systems. When a main road in the town of Sherston was closed for roadwork, the diversion recommended by some satnav systems takes motorists to the ford, known as The Splash, at Brook End.
(RAPID) The European Commission has sent a Statement of Objections to CISAC (the "International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers") and the individual national collecting societies that are members of CISAC. The Statement of Objections concerns the CISAC model contract and its implementation at bilateral level by CISAC members. This model contract concerns the collective management of copyright for every category of exploitation, for example the broadcasting of music in a bar, a night club or via internet. However, the SO concerns only certain relatively new forms of copyright exploitation: internet, satellite transmission and cable retransmission of music.
(RAPID) The European Commission has launched an in-depth investigation under EC Treaty state aid rules into subsidies for digital decoders granted by Italy in 2004 and 2005. The measures provide public grants to buyers of decoders which receive programmes in digital terrestrial technology. The subsidy is not technology-neutral because although it is also offered for decoders using cable technology, it is not available for decoders using satellite broadcasting. The Commission?s investigation will aim at establishing whether these incentives are liable to distort competition. The Commission received two complaints from terrestrial and satellite television operators.
(BBC) Digital television is watched in nearly two thirds of UK homes, broadcast watchdog Ofcom has found. The number watching digital TV has risen to 65.9% - representing 16.5 million households. This was an increase of 2.9% since June. Digital TV is accessed through existing TV aerials, or through satellite, cable and television-over-broadband services. Over one million Freeview boxes, which pick up signals using existing aerials, were sold from July to September.
(EUobserver.com) The EU's prestigious satellite project, Galileo, has been saved from a crash after EU transport ministers agreed to grant Germany, the biggest funder of the scheme, more orders for its industry. The breakthrough follows a months-long deadlock between Germany and other main participants France and Italy over the funding of the satellite system, which is seen as a strategic competitor to the American Global Positioning System (GPS) system.
(BBC) ITV and the BBC are to launch a free digital satellite service in a long-anticipated move to take on market-leading pay-TV company BSkyB. The broadcasters are working together to develop a Freesat service that would "complement" Freeview, the digital terrestrial service that has been sold to more than 5 million homes.
(Dailuy Telegraph) Ofcom, the Government quango who regulate broadcasting, have emerged as the new threat to the next Premier League television deal, which will replace the one ends in 2007.
Ofcom want to cut Sky down to size and promote a satellite channel that could break the near monopoly enjoyed by Rupert Murdoch's channel. They believe that competition will be good for the viewers, that there should be a plethora of service providers and more competition will also bring more innovation.
(BBC) London Transport and mobile firms are warning people about an e-mail spreading rapidly containing inaccurate safety information. The message claims that passengers on the London Tube system can contact emergency services via a satellite signal from their mobiles underground. Mobiles do not work in the London Underground, and satellite signals cannot reach there either.
(Wired) A search for personal data on ZabaSearch.com - one of the most comprehensive personal-data search engines on the net - tends to elicit one of two reactions from first-timers: terror or curiosity. Which reaction often depends on whether you are searching for someone else's data, or your own. ZabaSearch queries return a wealth of info sometimes dating back more than 10 years: residential addresses, phone numbers both listed and unlisted, birth year, even satellite photos of people's homes.
(AP) Many Web sites used by terrorist organizations are based in the United States, a new study by the Simon Wiesenthal Center said. The report, "Digital Terrorism + Hate," is to be unveiled as part of the Madrid summit on terrorism.
(BBC) he two consortia that want to run Europe's new satellite navigation system could not be separated in the latest round of the bidding process. It was expected a winner would emerge to capture the multi-billion euro contract to operate Galileo. But the two groups, iNavSat and Eurely, will now have further negotiations with the Galileo Joint Undertaking, the body set up to award the concession.
(CommsWatch) Figures show that, for the first time, this Christmas more people watched non-terrestrial television than BBC1 or ITV1. Digital, satellite and cable stations won 29.1% of viewers, while BBC1 attracted 27.2% and ITV1 had 22.0%. The combined total of the BBC1 and ITV1 audiences, 49.2%, compares to 73.3% a decade ago. These figures illustrate very clearly how the British television audience is fragmenting fast and putting pressure on station bosses and advertisers.
(New York Times) Acacia Research holds five U.S. patents covering streaming video and audio. It is demanding licensing fees fromfinancial and educational institutions and news organizations, including the New York Times. In June, Acacia sued nine cable and satellite companies. In late July, it sent out more letters demanding licensing fees from educational organizations that offer Web-based classes.The Electronic Frontier Foundation, an organization that is skeptical about the value to society of software patents, announced Acacia as winner of its "busting patents" competition, which sought nominations for the worst Internet-related patents.
(EFF) The FCC is considering whether to impose a "broadcast flag" content protection scheme on digital broadcast radio. The RIAA is pushing for the flag, which would impose FCC technology mandates on all future digital radio receivers. Apparently, the MPAA's success in getting preemptive FCC regulation of next generation televisions emboldened the RIAA to seek a similar regime for digital radio. EFF has filed two sets of comments on this issue. Now, you may be wondering why we care about this little FCC backwater proceeding. After all, nobody has an HD Radio yet. The format might not even succeed. So who cares? Well, in their latest comments, Disney let slip what this is all about: In addition, to the extent the Commission considers such a content protection mechanism, it should also consider whether to extend that mechanism to all music distribution platforms, including satellite digital audio radio service, the Internet and broadcast radio service.
. Satellites can help the EU monitor climate change, address international crises and contain natural disasters. EU Research Commissioner Philippe Busquin and Mr Antonio Rodotà, the Director General of the European Space Agency (ESA), officially opened a large stakeholder consultation forum aiming at the definition of European needs to enhance global monitoring for environment and security (GMES).
(BBC) Broadcaster BSkyB is planning to launch a free-to-air satellite package offering 200 TV and radio channels and interactive services. The service, to be launched later this year, will compete with Freeview, the free-to-air digital terrestrial service backed by the BBC and BSkyB. For a one-off payment of £150, it will include the BBC's digital services and Sky News as well as other free stations.
But unlike Freeview, a satellite dish will be needed to pick up the service.
(ZDNet UK) Train operator Eurostar is set to begin testing wireless Internet access on its cross-channel services later this year, joining operators such as GNER and Virgin Trains that are already experimenting with the service. The system is likely to be similar to the one GNER is testing, connecting to the Internet via a satellite link, Eurostar said. The downside is that service will be interrupted while trains are under the English Channel.
(New York Times) U.S. service blends content and delivery. Walt Disney Co. has been quietly testing a video-on-demand service in three U.S. cities since October. The company's executives talk about the service, called MovieBeam, as a modest business that is an attractive alternative for consumers who want to avoid paying high late fees to video rental stores.
But in fact, MovieBeam is more than just a way to help movie fans save money. It is also an early salvo by Disney in the battle over who controls content: entertainment creators or those who distribute it, like cable and satellite services.
(EurActiv.ocm) Irish Communications Minister Dermot Ahern has outlined Ireland's priorities during its six-month Presidency of the Telecoms Council. The mid-term review of the e-Europe Action Plan ahead of the Spring summit will be the Presidency's main highlight. Broadband: Mr Ahern outlined the rollout and exploitation of broadband infrastructure as the main issue facing EU Ministers. Mr Ahern calls on the Commission to consider mandating minimum levels of broadband deployment in schools as a way of laying the foundations to meet the Lisbon targets. E-Content: The Irish Presidency expects to make progress on the future launch of the e-Content Plus programme. This is a programme designed to stimulate the development, use and distribution of digital content as well as to stimulate demand. Special emphasis is to be placed on linguistic diversity in this respect. An informal ministerial conference is planned in late April to explore broadband stimulation from both the demand and supply sides. Spam: The Presidency will try to reach an international agreement to impose penalties on 'spammers' (those who send unsolicited e-mails). Broadcasting: A Presidency proposal plans to make satellite broadcasters subject to tighter regulation. Under current EU rules, broadcasters can escape regulation from countries outside their headquarters. Mr Ahern's proposal would make broadcasters fall under the jurisdiction of the EU countries in which they provide services, thereby allowing Member States to apply regulatory fees. The Presidency is hopeful that this proposal will be incorporated into the ongoing discussions on the revision of the Television Without Frontiers (TWF) directive. A Ministerial Conference is scheduled on 2-3 March 2004 to deal with the revision of the TWF directive.
(RAPID) The European Commission has cleared a number of agreements regarding the exclusive co-operation between Norway's Telenor, its satellite TV platform Canal Digital and Canal+ Nordic for the satellite distribution of Canal+' premium pay-TV channels in the Nordic region.
(Guardian ) The US congress has settled its row with the White House over sweeping changes to the country's media ownership laws that will allow giants such as Rupert Murdoch's News Corp, Time Warner and Viacom to tighten their grip on local broadcasters. According to congressional negotiators, both sides have settled for a 39% limit on the proportion of audience reached nationally by any network of local stations. US lawmakers had originally wanted to bar the federal communications commission from raising the limit to 45%. Under the compromise, media companies including News Corp, which owns the Fox network and the DirecTV satellite operation, and NBC and MTV owner Viacom, will be able to keep the assets that they built up in anticipation of the change in the law.
(BBC) China has struck a deal to invest in Galileo, the European Union's space satellite navigation network. China is already one of the biggest players in the global satellite launch industry and is making final preparations for its first manned space flight which could take place as soon as next month. 'China will help Galileo to become the major world infrastructure for the growing market for location services,' said EU transport commissioner Loyola de Palacio. China will invest 230m euros ($259m; £160m) in the Galileo satellite tracking system, roughly a fifth of the expected cost of building the 1.1bn euros network of 30 satellites.
(Guardian) The BBC will be left to fight a lone battle against Rupert Murdoch's BSkyB if the government does not intervene to prevent the collapse of ITV as a public service broadcaster, the corporation's director general Greg Dyke warned. Mr Dyke warned of BSkyB's dominance of the digital TV world, and said five years of management failure at ITV had allowed the satellite broadcaster to forge ahead, opposed only by the BBC. He expressed concern about Sky's position as simultaneously a provider of Britain's biggest satellite television system; provider of programmes on that system; and controller of the price paid by other broadcasters who want to use it.
(www.internet.gouv.fr) Adoption d'un projet de loi sur les communications électroniques et les services de communication audiovisuelle. Une nouvelle définition des réseaux de communications électroniques est introduite couvrant l'ensemble des réseaux : réseaux de télécommunications fixes ou mobiles, réseaux câblés, réseaux de diffusion hertzienne terrestre ou par satellite. L'Autorité de Régulation des Télécommunications (ART) sera en charge des questions de régulation économique, notamment pour la régulation des services commerciaux utilisant ces réseaux. Il n'interviendra pas cependant pour la régulation des contenus éditoriaux proprement dits. Le Conseil supérieur de l'audiovisuel reste l'autorité de régulation de la radio et de la télévision, quel que soit leur mode de diffusion (hertzien, câble, satellite, ADSL, Internet). voir aussi Dossier thématique (Direction du développement des médias).
(EFF / Stanford CIS) Electronic Frontier Foundation and Stanford Center for Internet & Society Cyberlaw Clinic have launched directvdefense.org. Smartcards are an important, and legal, branch of emerging technology, but satellite TV giant DirecTV has launched a reckless legal campaign that threatens smartcard researchers and innovators. The satellite TV company accuses techies of using these devices to illegally intercept its signals. But the smart card readers and their various derivatives are capable of so much more: they secure computer networks, enable user-based identification, and further scientific discovery.
UK - BBC and BSkyB end satellite row (Guardian) After months of brinkmanship the BBC and BSkyB have finally settled their protracted row over an £85m deal that guarantees distribution of the corporation's channels to 6.7 million Sky homes. They have agreed a new deal, believed to represent savings of tens of millions of pounds, which will ensure BBC1 and BBC2 remain the first channels Sky viewers see on the electronic TV listings that appear on screen automatically when they switch on their sets. It will mean that, for the first time, viewers in Scotland will be able to watch BBC London and that anyone with a satellite dish and a receiver can watch the BBC's digital channels without a viewing card. [Ed: If this is true, British expats within reach of the BSkyB satellites will be dancing in the streets]
US - Murdoch Defends DirecTV Takeover (AP) News Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch sought to assure lawmakers that his proposed acquisition of DirecTV, the nation's largest satellite television provider, would not harm competition or limit consumer choices. The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee hearing was the latest in a series on media consolidation held while the FCC considers whether decades-old ownership restrictions still reflect a market altered by satellite broadcasts, cable television and the Internet. The commission is to vote June 2 on overhauling the rules.
UK - Multichannel TV overtakes terrestrial (Guardian) BBC1 and ITV have been pushed into second place in the ratings by satellite and cable channels for the first time in TV history. The figures are a major milestone as they take into account the 50% of homes that have only five channels - digital channels narrowly outstripped BBC1 and ITV last year but only in multichannel homes. The shift towards multichannel viewing has serious implications for advertisers, the ongoing argument surrounding public service broadcasting in a digital age and the BBC's bid to retain the licence fee.
US - Electronic Frontier Foundation opposes stealth lobbying on copyright
US - Electronic Frontier Foundation opposes stealth lobbying on copyright (EFF) The Electronic Frontier Foundation has released a detailed analysis of the dangers posed by digital copyright bills in individual states. The product of stealth lobbying efforts by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), these new measures are aimed at criminalizing the possession of what the MPAA calls "unlawful communication and access devices," but which are so broad that they could ban critical security and privacy tools online as well as restrict what machines you can connect to the cable, satellite, and Internet lines in your home.
Improved Tools Turn Journalists Into a Quick Strike Force
Improved Tools Turn Journalists Into a Quick Strike Force (New York Times) Reporters covering the war in Iraq are at one with their technology as never before. Television reporters are toting hand-held video cameras and print journalists have traded the 70-pound satellite phones of the 1991 Gulf War for svelte models that can be held up to their ear. High-speed Internet lines in the desert and more satellites in the sky mean journalists can make a connection almost anywhere. As the conflict unfolds, they are tapping into the global communications grid regularly.
Thai firm fined for providing porn mobile phone services
Thai firm fined for providing porn mobile phone services (AFP) A Thai telecoms firm has been fined for providing pornographic pictures and messages to mobile telephone users. Samart Info Media Co, a subsidiary of Thai satellite and telecoms firm Samart, was ordered to pay a fine of 90,000 baht (2,090 dollars) by the consumer protection board. The firm was found to have used and offered lewd messages that are considered against Thai culture. Several parents whose children used the mobile service had complained to the board, prompting an investigation.
UK - ITC Multi-channel Quarterly (Press Release) The quarterly ITC Cable Statistics has been replaced with the ITC Multi-channel Quarterly. This new report has been expanded to include the digital terrestrial, satellite, and DSL platforms.
US - Satellite TV giant shuts broadband (BBC) US satellite TV operator Hughes Electronics is to shut down its high-speed internet service. The loss-making internet service, DirecTV Broadband, has 160,000 subscribers and is linked to the DirecTV satellite broadcaster.
FR - TOM - Sat-TV porn raises temperatures in French Polynesia (ABC) A government-funded service providing satellite-television programming to French Polynesia is being criticised over its alleged pornographic content. A group of women from Tahiti's opposition recently complained about violence and pornographic material screened on TNS, a multi-channel service funded by the territorial government. One island's mayor, who is also the pastor, ensures nobody sees the offending programs by shutting down the electricity generator at midnight and switching it back on at six o'clock in the morning.
FR - Une nouvelle signalétique à la télévision (Le Monde) Le Conseil supérieur de l'audiovisuel (CSA) a présenté la nouvelle signalétique destinée à alerter les parents des jeunes téléspectateurs sur le contenu des émissions. Au plus tard le 18 novembre, sur l'ensemble des chaînes hertziennes, du câble et du satellite, les oeuvres cinématographiques et certains programmes devront être classés en cinq catégories en fonction de leur capacité à « nuire à l'épanouissement physique, mental ou moral » ou à heurter les mineurs par leur caractère violent, érotique ou obscène. voir La protection des mineurs à l'écran et la nouvelle signalétique jeunesse (CSA).
UK - ITC imposes £10,000 financial penalty on B4U channel (Press Release) The ITC has imposed a financial penalty of £10,000 on a subscription movie channel available on cable and satellite, B4U ("Bollywood For You"), for breaches of the ITC Programme Code by scheduling three films during the day whose content was unsuitable before the 9pm watershed.
Cable and Satellite Directive review (European Commission ) Report on the application of Council Directive 93/83/EEC on the coordination of certain rules concerning copyright and rights related to copyright applicable to satellite broadcasting and cable retransmission Brussels, 26.07.2002 COM(2002) 430 final.
Beijing moves to curb illegal satellite use (Straits Times) China says it is cracking down on unauthorised use of satellite communication networks and ground relay stations, as the rampant building and use of such illegal networks are disrupting the normal operation of satellite communications and endangers social security. The crackdown comes amid a series of incidents in which activists from the banned Falungong group hijacked TV signals to show protest videos.
UE - Télévision : accès transfrontalier aux programmes parfois limité par droits de propriété intellectuelle (Europa) Un nombre important de citoyens européens voudraient mais n'arrivent pas à obtenir l'accès, via le satellite, aux programmes télévisés autres que ceux originaires de l'Etat membre où ils résident. Techniquement, une diffusion par satellite de programmes au delà des frontières nationales ne pose pas de difficultés mais les problèmes d'accès sont souvent liés à la difficulté d'assurer de manière transfrontalière une protection adéquate des droits des créateurs des programmes concernés. Par contre, la diffusion transfrontalière de programmes par câble rencontre nettement moins de problèmes. Telles sont les principales conclusions du rapport que la Commission européenne a adopté sur l'application au sein des Etats membres de la Directive 93/83/CEE, qui permet aux créateurs et réalisateurs d'oeuvres audiovisuelles, ainsi qu'aux organismes assurant leur diffusion, de bénéficier pleinement du marché intérieur.
EU - Copyright in cable and satellite (Europa) COM(2002) 430. Report from the european commission on the application of Council Directive 93/83/EEC on the coordination of certain rules concerning copyright and rights related to copyright applicable to satellite broadcasting and cable retransmission. The Commission is particularly concerned about the difficulties which citizens encounter in trying to access satellite channels transmitted outside the Member State in which they are resident. This situation not only goes against the grain of a fundamental principle embodied in Directive 93/83/EEC, but also means that the freedom of movement of goods and services cannot be fully exercised, that viewers' expectations cannot be met, and that cultural and economic opportunities introduced by the internal market cannot be exploited. The Commission will therefore conduct a study - observing the protection of rightholders - into possible ways of meeting citizens' expectations, which are set to continue rising in step with increased mobility and the development of new technologies to which the general public has access in the European Union.
Remote control (CNET News.com) Far from Hollywood and Silicon Valley, a key battle over the future of digital entertainment is looming at a federal courthouse in Georgia.
There, a judge will decide on a patent infringement lawsuit filed by Gemstar-TV Guide International against its rivals in the market for "interactive programming guides" used in TV set-top boxes that provide cable and satellite services. As obscure as the case may sound, its outcome could have profound consequences for the computer, television and entertainment industries.
Israel bans porn on TV (BBC) The Israeli parliament, the Knesset, has banned cable and satellite broadcasters from showing pornography. In a rare display of unity, Arab members voted alongside right-wing and religious Jewish parties in favour of the bill.
Vietnam seeks to monitor customers at Internet cafes (AP) Communist Vietnam plans to monitor customers at Internet cafes to prevent them from accessing politically and morally objectionable Web sites.Prime Minister Phan Van Khai has ordered local authorities to inspect and assess all Internet cafes and report back to the government by July 7. Last week, Khai issued a directive prohibiting all citizens, except for top Communist Party and government officials and a few others, from watching international satellite TV.
UK - Viewers turn away from digital TV (Guardian) Britain's uptake of digital television has stalled in the confusion created by the collapse of ITV Digital. Ipsos-RSL Digital Audience Research Tracking (Dart) has found that 36% of homes have digital television, via satellite, cable or terrestrial networks. And six out of 10 viewers who don't have digital TV say that "nothing" would change their mind about getting it.
Report Slams Cable ISP Deregulation (Washtech) Federal regulators should not count on satellite providers and phone companies to provide ample competition to cable in the high-speed Internet market if regulators approve the $72 billion merger between Comcast and AT&T's [NYSE:T] broadband unit, consumer groups warned. In a study The Failure of Intermodal Competition in Cable and Communications Markets, the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) and the Computer & Communications Industry Association noted that satellite and digital subscriber line (DSL) Internet access providers serve largely different markets than the cable companies.
Lift-off for low-cost satellite broadband (BBC) BT is offering a low-cost satellite service for those in the UK who are cut off from the broadband revolution - but questions remain about how widespread the take-up for this new service will be.
Will Wi-Fi overwhelm satellite radio? (CNET News.com) Satellite radio stations aren't too happy rubbing bandwidth shoulders with Wi-Fi wireless networks. The two wireless industries broadcast their signals on radio waves separated by only a small buffer. So far, that buffer has kept the millions of Wi-Fi networks from interfering with radio broadcasts by Sirius Satellite Radio or XM Satellite Radio. But the radio companies don't think the relative calm will last, so they are asking the U.S. Federal Communications Commission to step in.
Breadth of accusations against Microsoft widens (FT) An interactive television software group accused Microsoft of attempting to use its $12.4bn worth of holdings in the global cable television and telecoms industry to stifle competition. Liberate Technologies warned that a large competitor such as Microsoft could eliminate competing technology either by explicitly requiring cable and satellite companies to use its software, or by establishing biased criteria that tilted the selection process in its favour.
GALILEO : YES, at last ! (RAPID) Following on from the unanimous conclusions of the Barcelona European Council on 13-14 March, the Council of Transport Ministers released the ? 450m needed to develop GALILEO, Europe's satellite navigation and positioning system, and at the same time adopted the regulation establishing the joint undertaking responsible for operating it. The GALILEO project, which has been developed in conjunction with the European Space Agency, will enable users to accurately determine their positions in time and space at any given time.
EU plans online push and satellite launch (Total Telecom) The European Commission has been told to draw up an eEurope 2005 Action Plan for the next heads of government meeting, set for June 2002 in Seville, Spain. EU leaders, meeting at their weekend summit in Barcelona, agreed that the plan should focus on telecoms security, the roll out of a new Ipv6 Internet protocol and on achieving the "widespread availability and use of broadband networks by 2005." They also told the EC to present an "analysis of the remaining barriers to widespread access" to a number of electronic information services, especially third generation mobile systems and open-platform digital television. Meanwhile, the EU's ambitious Galileo satellite navigation project was strongly backed by government leaders and a decision to go ahead is now fairly certain to be taken by the EU Council of Ministers (transport) on 26 March.
Liberty bites back at German watchdog (FT) The German Cartel Office has until February 28 to rule on Liberty Media's E5.5bn acquisition of Deutsche Telekom's cable business, which has sparked a passionate debate among Germany's media players. Ulf Böge, the authority's chairman, has said he was unlikely to authorise it in its current shape. The market has historically been split between wholesale and retail operators, with the latter handling direct access to customers. While DT's network is largely wholesale, Liberty has also agreed to acquire TeleColumbus, a large retail player, and merge them under a single business model. In its submission, Liberty rejected the segmented market structure as "artificial" and said its plan to quickly roll out digital television would prevent cable's position from being eroded by satellite. It also denied its policy of acquiring minority holdings in content providers would give it privileged access to programmes
Vivendi?s Christmas shopping (Economist) Jean-Marie Messier has transformed Vivendi from a French utility to an America-centred entertainment giant. Despite his insistence that he did not need to own American distribution channels too, his acquisition of stakes in EchoStar, a satellite group, and two cable networks achieves just that. But will it work?
Galileo ne tourne pas rond (transfert) Six états de l´Union européenne (UE) rechignent à financer la prochaine étape de Galileo, le programme européen de radionavigation par satellite. Motif : un débat sur la participation du privé au financement du projet. Explications de Brian Lerner, auteur d´une étude commandée par l´UE au cabinet PricewaterhouseCoopers.
War Boosts Popularity Of Satellite Phone (Washington Post) Long considered an expensive, bulky alternative to land-based wireless service, satellite phones are enjoying something of a renaissance since the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11 and amid the war that followed.
Satellite-Net venture seen scrapped (Wall Street Journal) A joint venture backed by Lockheed Martin Corp. and several telecommunications and media companies is expected to pull the plug on an ambitious $3.7 billion project to provide satellite-delivered Internet services to corporate customers, after failing to line up additional financing.
BBC seeks cheaper access to satellite network (FT) The BBC is lobbying Oftel, the telecommunications regulator, for cheaper access to British Sky Broadcasting's satellite network and the potential for free carriage to reflect its need to be universally available to viewers.
Iran set for clash over satellite television ban
A crackdown on satellite television dishes that followed serious unrest in Tehran has set the scene for another bitter confrontation between conservative-controlled institutions and reformists in parliament. Members of parliament announced they planned to fulfil a pledge they made during general elections last year and start the process of lifting a ban on ownership of satellite dishes after police, acting on the orders of the judiciary, seized more than 1,000 dishes and receivers in raids on private homes in Tehran in what they said was part of a wider campaign to confiscate 150,000.
Parents 'lose control' of children's viewing (BBC) The explosion in broadcasting technologies has caused many parents to lose control over what their children watch. The growth of digital, cable and satellite TV, as well as home computer technology, means parents are increasingly powerless to monitor their children's viewing habits. A report, Viewers and Family Viewing Policy, published jointly by the Broadcasting Standards Commission (BSC), the Independent Television Commission (ITC) and the BBC, discovered that many parents were not aware of facilities, such as blocks on pay-TV and internet filters, which help them control what their children watch.
Key House Leaders Lobby To Defeat Digital Music Bill (Newsbytes) A half-dozen influential House lawmakers are urging fellow members to nix any legislation this session that would tweak copyright laws to accommodate changes in the market for digital music, such as the Music Online Competition Act (MOCA). MOCA would amend copyright law to extend the same copyright exemptions that radio, cable and satellite broadcasters enjoy to legitimate online music distributors.
Parliament bans porno channels on Israeli cable TV (AP) Israel's parliament banned pornographic channels from cable and satellite TV systems available in the country. The main purpose of the bill was to regulate telephone, television and Internet services, opening the market to competition after decades of domination by a government-owned monopoly, Bezeq.
Modified game consoles to narrow digital divide (IDG) People in developing nations could soon be using modified Linux game consoles equipped with satellite links to help them learn about vital health issues. The project, sponsored by Western and Asian business leaders working through the World Economic Forum (WEF), aims to narrow the so-called digital divide.
Europe Online Satellite ISP Reinvents Itself (Newsbytes) Europe Online, the satellite-based Internet service provider (ISP), has relaunched itself as a hybrid dialup and satellite Internet operation.
Under the revamped Europe Online, users still connect their PCs to the Internet using a dialup modem, as well as satellite TV connection. But the Internet carrier is steering users away from real-time broadband access to the Net, and over to requested file downloads over the satellite connection. The new approach to sharing satellite downstream channel resources opens the way for near video-on-demand services.
Net pirates nab TV episodes from the sky (CNET News.com) For years, a dwindling crowd of tech-savvy satellite TV subscribers has had the ability to tap freely into the satellite streams meant for affiliate TV stations. The TV networks have done little to stop this because few people were affected. But now these "pre-air" shows have started appearing on the Internet and are being traded like songs were in the early days of MP3 music--a practice known as TVRip.
Senator warns Murdoch over US satellite plans (FT) John McCain, the powerful Republican senator, has fired a warning shot across the bows of Rupert Murdoch, the media mogul who has ambitious expansion plans in the US broadcast and satellite television market.
Murdoch's big birds (Economist) After years of trying, Rupert Murdoch could be about to plug the gap in his global satellite-television network. Making money from this ambitious plan, however, could prove even harder
Government attacked over broadband commitments (ZDNet UK) MPs sitting on the Department of Media, Culture and Sport select committee have accused the government of failing to take account of citizens' needs, and have challenged e-Minister Patricia Hewitt's assertion that the UK is leading broadband roll out in Europe. see also UK - Roll out of broadband internet access (FT) Patricia Hewitt
(e-minister) and Andrew Pinder (the government's e-envoy) We have been listening to the debate about the roll out of broadband internet access in Britain with increasing puzzlement. If you include all broadband technologies such as cable and satellite, Britain is set to have more competition, sooner, between the competing infrastructures than virtually any other country.
ITV pays £100m to go digital (FT) ITV could be available to Sky Digital viewers by the end of this year, after the broadcaster struck a £100m ($144m) 10-year deal with Societe Europeenne des Satellites to put its channel on satellite.
Eurotica Rendez-Vous Television v. Commission Judgment of the Court of First Instance (Second Chamber) 13 December 2000 ('Television Without Frontiers directive - National restrictions on the retransmission across frontiers of television broadcasts - Finding by the Commission that those restrictions are compatible with Community law - Action for annulment - Admissibility) Case T-69/99, Danish Satellite TV (DSTV) A/S (Eurotica Rendez-Vous Television) v Commission of the European Communities
Satellite move by Classics (FT) Online Classics, which broadcasts music and performing arts over the internet, has been forced to launch a satellite channel because of delays to the development of broadband networks in the UK.
Business Gets the Message (Industry Standrda) When Adm. Gerald Hoewing took the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis to the Pacific Ocean for a six-month tour of duty last year, he followed an old Navy custom known as the fireside chat. Each night after dinner, Hoewing debriefed the commanding officers of the ships in his battle group. But while Hoewing honored the Navy tradition, he did it in a nontraditional way. Instead of talking by radio, as commanders have done for decades, the admiral and his captains sat at personal computers and conducted their conversations using Lotus instant-messaging software running over an encrypted satellite link. Navy brass were so impressed that they ordered similar setups for every ship at sea. By this summer, everyone from ensigns to admirals will be using instant messaging to communicate within ships, across the Navy and even back to the Pentagon in Washington.
BCE Set to Marry High-Speed Internet, Satellite TV (Reuters) BCE, Canada's largest telecoms company, unveiled plans to integrate high-speed Internet and satellite television services, which among other things would allow customers to ''time-shift'' their TV program schedule.
Satellite broadcasters zap pirate smartcards (BBC) Satellite TV companies are fighting back against hackers. In the last week two companies have broadcast codes that have zapped the hacked smartcards people have been using to get access to TV channels without paying for them
High-speed MSN: Truth in advertising? (ZDNN) Those who want satellite Internet access through MSN HighSpeed need to junk their existing computers and buy brand-new Compaq Computer Corp. systems outfitted with satellite-compatible network cards.
France blasts Britain over Echelon (ZDNet UK)
A French parliamentary enquiry has harshly criticised Britain for its involvement in the Echelon satellite surveillance system, which it denounces as a threat to individual liberty and commercial privacy. Echelon is the codename for a surveillance network built by the UK and U.S. at the onset of the Cold War in order to eavesdrop on international satellite communications. It is one part of a global
surveillance effort that counts on cooperation from Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
European firm deals blow to Internet-by-satellite (Reuters) A leading provider of high-speed Internet services via satellite is relaunching as an interactive broadcaster after concluding the technology cannot be used for Web surfing. The decision by Luxembourg-based Europe Online is a blow to hopes that satellites could bring fast Internet connections to rural communities shunned by fixed-line operators.
EU gives OK to Vivendi-Seagram union (AP) European Union regulators cleared the $30 billion media deal between France's Vivendi and Canada's Seagram after the companies agreed to address antitrust concerns about Europe's pay-TV market. The deal brings together Vivendi's European cable TV, satellite and Internet distribution systems and Seagram's interests in Hollywood and music, Universal Studios and Universal Music Group, to create a global media conglomerate: Vivendi Universal. The European Commission said Vivendi had agreed to sell its 20 percent stake in British pay-TV group British Sky Broadcasting.
Feds nab satellite TV thieves in sting (AP) Federal authorities disclosed a 22-month sting operation, dubbed "Operation Smartcard.net," in which government agents sold thousands of counterfeit cards that allowed people to steal satellite television signals.
A-Z of Telecoms Web Sites (Total Telecom) Analysts And Consultants, Industry Forums/Associations, Internet Telephony, Manufacturers And Vendors, Operators, Regulators And Government, Satellite Companies, Standard Bodies
Commission proposes Decision on Radio Spectrum (RAPID)
The European Commission has proposed a regulatory framework for radio spectrum policy in the European Union (EU). Radio spectrum is the cornerstone for a wide range of wireless applications, such as 3rd generation mobile communications and satellite communications. The aim of the proposal is to ensure the harmonised availability and efficient use of radio spectrum and where required, to implement EU policies with regard to electronic communications and in the areas of transport (GALILEO), broadcasting, and R&D.
TV Networks Face Competition Suit (New York Law Journal) The major broadcast networks are being forced to fight claims they engaged in an industry-wide conspiracy to blunt a growing competitive threat from a satellite television company. The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a lower court's dismissal of PrimeTime 24's antitrust lawsuit, finding the satellite company had sufficiently alleged that the networks made baseless and harmful challenges to PrimeTime's right to send signals to households throughout the country.
Internet Copyright Laws Debated (AP) Major content providers - and the director of the federal copyright office - argued that Internet companies should not be eligible for the special licenses that satellite and cable companies have to carry broadcast programming. But Web businesses, testifying at a congressional hearing, said this puts them on an uneven playing field and singles out their technology as different from others.