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August 25, 1997updated 03 Sep 2016 11:34am

TELQUEST TO POUNCE ON WIRELESS CABLE SCENE

By CBR Staff Writer

Telquest Satellite Services LLC has decided to take on DirecTV, Primestar and Echostar in the wireless cable service market with a new business model it claims will save cable providers millions of dollars in equipment costs. The company will begin providing its Headend-in-the-Sky service to affiliates this autumn via its national uplink facility being constructed in Hawley, Pennsylvania by Nexcom Inc. It will use the TelStar 5 satellite deployed by Loral Skynet in July. The Telquest Headend-in-the-Sky service means cable providers that use it will not have to construct and operate a digital compression center of their own for the launch of digital subscription video services, saving them millions of dollars on providing their own digital encoder equipment. Telquest believes this business model will give it the edge over the competition and provide additional revenue on top of the direct-to-home digital video programming service it plans to offer next year through its affiliates. Other players in the wireless cable market are not making the most of the market, said president Marty Lafferty. There is room for new players. They haven’t scratched the surface of demand. Initially two cable affiliates, CS Wireless Systems Inc and CAI Wireless Systems Inc, will take advantage of the service. Both have invested $2.5m in cash and another $2.5m in equipment for a 25% ownership each in Telquest Satellite. Telquest Communications Inc owns the rest. CAI Wireless will use Telquest’s Headend service for its planned launch of digital video services in Boston this autumn. Telquest Satellite will initially offer services on C band satellite as the TelStar 5 is a hybrid satellite and it will migrate to a complete ku band service in 1998. The advantages of ku band over C band is that the satellite dish is smaller at around one meter in diameter instead of three meters and the dishes are cheaper. The lower cost of the dish means that we are including it in the cable subscription. The dishes cost less than $700 compared to around $2,500 for a C band satellite receiver dish. The next step is to offer interactive services using ka band satellite when it becomes available next year.

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