The Federal Communications Commission granted EchoStar's request to move the company's first DBS satellite from its full-CONUS slot at 119 degrees to its western orbital location at 148 degrees, replacing the bird with a new satellite scheduled to launch May 8.
Approval for swapping satellites and locations came despite petitions filed by TCI Satellite-backed TEMPO and Telquest to deny EchoStar's request. The agency also approved the company's petition to test the new EchoStar IV at 127 degrees, a Mexican orbital location.
No firm decision was forwarded by Mexico regarding the satellite testing. However, the FCC granted approval on the condition that the Mexican government doesn't object. A final approval is expected from Mexico before launch.
Once testing is complete and EchoStar IV is parked at 119 degrees, it will support the company's DISH Network service. EchoStar I will provide niche services and local channel access at 148 degrees.