Sat-ND, 11.11.96

Sat-ND 96-11-11 - Satellite and Media News

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This issue is sponsored by TELE-satellite, Europe's Satellite Magazine 
Have a look at their homepage! >> http://www.TELE-satellit.com/ <<

I know, it's Monday, but not much has happened today. So, this is more a
Sunday issue of Sat-ND, containing also some of last week's news that may
still be interesting. -- PC


Loral's multi-million present for China
Globalstar Telecommunications Ltd. reached an agreement with China's
Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications' ChinaSat to provide basic
telephony service beginning in 1998, but China's news agency Xinhua today
had a somewhat different story to tell. "Globalstar presented China with a
mobile global satellite telecommunications system [...] The system, named
the global mobile personal communications system, and worth 3.5 million US
dollars, will be given to China Satellite."
It's true, but of course that's just a trifle compared to Globalstar's
total cost of US$2.5 billion (14 percent more than what was estimated one
year ago, by the way.) 
Globalstar, a unit of Loral Space & Communications Ltd., said in a press
release that ChinaSat will act as the sole distributor of Globalstar
services in China, will own and operate four planned Globalstar ground
stations, and will integrate the Globalstar system with China's existing
telephone infrastructure.
The first of the four gateways, situated outside of Beijing, is expected to
be operational at Globalstar's launch in China in 1998. Other gateways will
be added in Guangzhou, Lanzhou and Shanghai. 
Globalstar's 48-satellite system expects more than 200,000 subscribers in
China by the year 2002, in other words: eight percent of its subscriber
base at that time. But the valuable present to China also will allow Loral
to compete against U.S. rivals such as Hughes Electronics Corp. and
Lockheed Martin Corp., which are already present in the region. The move
also puts Loral ahead of rivals such as Iridium, another
satellite-telephone project led by Motorola Inc. Though they have
in-country partners through their affiliation with Iridium China Ltd., so
far has no agreement to provide services has been reached.

RTL drops multi-channel front
Officially, Germany's most successful commercial TV station has no
connections with channels such as RTL 2 and Super RTL. The masquerade was
necessary to comply with the German media law that restricted TV ownership
to one "full service" channel per company. This regulation is widely
expected to be succeeded by a quota system. Companies will be allowed to
hold any number of TV channels they want as long as the do not reach a
combined market share of 30 percent. (Why 30 percent? Quite simple. The
current "channel families", as those free-to-air bundles are called, all
stay clear of that margin.)
The pending legislation has prompted SAT.1 to announce its own recycling
channel SAT.2 (Sat-ND, 28.10.96.) RTL, however, may go one step further by
setting up a holding company for all its TV channels. A report that
appeared today in news magazine "Der Spiegel" so far wasn't denied by any
of the parties involved.
An RTL spokesman said it was up to the channels' shareholders to decide
upon a common holding company. He left it no doubt that he considered such
a move beneficial because it would allow for a better exploitation of
broadcast rights.
According to "Der Spiegel", the new company will include RTL, RTL 2 and
Super RTL. CLT/Ufa are expected to hold a 75 percent share, while German
publishing houses WAZ and Bauer will hold almost ten percent each. Walt
Disney Co, 50-percent shareholder of Super RTL, will take over five
It is still unclear whether TV channel Vox will be part of the holding. It
may depend on other factors as Vox' major shareholder Rupert Murdoch still
does not seem to have found his place in the German TV circus. His News
Corp. has announced to take over 50 percent of Leo Kirch's fledgling
digital TV service DF1 but still hasn't done so. Recent rumours suggest
he's also talking to CLT/Ufa again.

Van Miert strikes again
Bad news for Canal Plus and Telefonica España. European Competition
Commissioner Karel Van Miert hinted he would oppose Cablevision, a cable
television deal between the companies mentioned. Earlier last week, an EU
advisory committee recommended the joint venture be blocked, as it would
likely dominate the relatively undeveloped Spanish market. The EU's final
decision is expected by November 26. Reports in Spain's El Mundo newspaper
last week suggested that Telefonica executives were even considering a
withdrawal to avoid the expectedly negative ruling.
(See also: Sat-ND, 22.8.96)

Streamline BBC
The BBC carries on their restructuring efforts. The combination of domestic
and international news services last summer still can't be called
undisputed. But the streamlining of BBC programming goes on, although this
time radio and TV services will have to merge in one way or another. New
"multimedia departments" will be set up for BBC Science, BBC Music and BBC
Consumer and Leisure programmes. In addition, a new BBC Drama department
will bring together all radio and TV production based in London and two
regional centres in Manchester and Birmingham.
BBC official noted there might be fewer production jobs in the future, but
some potential job losses may be offset by program opportunities in new
digital channels (SAT-ND, 5.11.96, 30.9.96.) Well, well...

Roast Chicken 2
I have still firm reason to believe that Eutelsat's Hot Bird 2 will be
launched on November 13 from somewhere in the USA (yawn.) If all goes well,
viewers in Europe will have the opportunity to watch the launch (yawn.)
EuroNews has announced it will provide live coverage starting at 2100 CET
(2000 UTC, yawn.) 
If nothing happens, tune in the following day when a new launch window will
open at more or less the same time. If nothing happens again, consult
Sat-ND for any updates. And stop yawning, will ya?

Zeroes and Ones
By Grandpa Zheng <http://www.sat-net.com/pck/zheng/>

Hackerz again
This time, they broke into a Web site featuring a summit of 21 Latin
American states, filling it with obscene pictures. Instead of the heads of
states participating and their first ladies, Web surfers instead got some
nude men and women for a change. 
Eye witnesses said that "Press Information" was altered to read "Press
Disinformation," and the "Housing Forum and Public Development" became
"Drinking Forum and Pubic Underdevelopment." How exciting. The site has
been taken off the 'Net, of course, so just don't bother about this URL:
http://www.cumbre.cl/ (Search CNN's Web site instead, they might have some
snapshots of the fake site in store, but that's just a guess.)

No mail
And yet another Internet breakdown. This time, it hit a U.S. company which
happens to be the nation's second-largest Internet provider. For more than
36 hours starting last Thursday, 200,000 customers of AT&T's online service
"WorldNet" were unable to receive Email following a computer glitch. At
least, no mail was lost because it was stored in other computer databases,
AT&T officials said.

Laser physicists and their sons
What happens when scientists let their sons access laboratory computers?
Just ask Laser physicist Kenneth Manes of the renowned Lawrence Livermore
National Laboratory. Along with a colleague, he is charged with
misdemeanours for letting the kids access a lab computer system from their
homes or schools over the Internet.
They didn't interfere with those very secret superlaser calculations
performed as part of the lab's nuclear weapons research. Instead, they just
stored filthy pictures and cracked software there. Cute, isn't it?
Investigators found not only that a computer account Manes created for his
16-year-old son was used to store more than 90 (Oh wow! Ninety!) sexually
explicit images -- it also gave him total access to the system. He
apparently didn't exploit it but instead used his account to flood a
computer in Sweden with junk mail. Poor Sweden. Manes' other son, who is
23, is believed to have used his account for storing pirated software.
Manes' computer appeared on the list of 100 busiest computers at the lab
for a week in March, which prompted an investigation. Another scientist is
also accused of giving his son, a college student, an account on the
computer. It has not yet been reported what he used it for.

Copyright 1996 by Peter C. Klanowski, pck@LyNet.De. All rights reserved.

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