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June 17, 1987

SATELLITE COMMS FIRM PLANS GLOBAL PRIVATE NETS AT 50% OFF

By CBR Staff Writer

Laying down the gauntlet to AT&T, Intelsat and Cable & Wireless in the international private telecommunications network market – and setting out to prove that satellite is a match for fibre optics, a new company this week announced plans for a global satellite network for voice, data and video transmission. Partners in the new Teleport Denver Ltd venture are SatTime Inc of Aspen, Colorado and the Commden subsidiary of Canadian oil and cable television company Canuck Resources Corp, and they aim to undercut current rates by up to 50%. Teleport Denver Ltd plans to set up teleports in Europe and the Far East within 12 months to complement the $6m teleport it has already established in Denver. Denver, in the foothills of the Rockies, was picked because it is thought to be the only place that can access five continents simultaneously and directly without the expense and time delay of relaying signals through other carriers’ gateways. The company has signed a multi-million dollar deal with Comsat, Communications Satellite Corp, which will install and maintain a Very Small Aperature Terminal earthstation to act as a route into the Denver teleport, bypassing phone lines and cutting costs 50%. It has also bought five 6.1 metre redundant satellite earth stations from Federal Express, left over from its failed Zapmail facsimile electronic mail service. The firm also has a joint marketing agreement with New York-based Private Satellite Network Inc to promote its Business Television teleconferencing services – clients IBM, Ford Motor and J C Penny. Teleport Denver will invest some $350m over the next few years to set up teleport facilities. It aims to buy a satellite that is already licenced by the Federal Communication Commission to be launched over Hawaii within the next two years to serve the the Pacific Basin. The UK is particularly ripe for the development of commercially owned teleports, given added argument by the post-Big Bang inevitability of 24 hour stock trading, says Teleport Denver chairman Steve Collin. The company is currently talking to TV-am, the Mirror group, British Telecom, the French PTT and the Swiss PTT. In the Far East, it is talking to some of the largest investment banks with plans to enter foreign markets, and looks to sew up a large percentage of the burgeoning data transmission market long before the trans-Pacific fibre optic cables are operational; it reckons that it will break even in its second year.

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