LITTLETON, Colo.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Feb. 12, 1999--EchoStar Communications Corporation confirmed press reports that it filed a lawsuit in Denver, Colo. for breach of contract against Bell Satellite Services, Inc. and Bell ExpressVu (Bell ExpressVu is a division of Bell Satellite).
In December 1998, Bell Satellite and Bell ExpressVu announced a $47 million equity investment in SkyView Media Group, the parent company to Ethnic-American Broadcasting Company (EABC), both based in Fort Lee, New Jersey. However, as part of a 1997 agreement in which EchoStar (through certain affiliated companies) agreed to provide information, technology and digital set top boxes for the launch and operation of a direct-to-home satellite company in Canada, Bell ExpressVu committed to not make any equity investment directly or indirectly in any provider of direct-to-home satellite services in the United States. EchoStar maintains that the investment by Bell Satellite and Bell ExpressVu in Sky Media is a violation of this agreement because Sky Media and its subsidiary, EABC, are direct competitors to EchoStar's international and foreign language programming services.
"We are disappointed that Bell Satellite and Bell ExpressVu
ignored our business relationship and their contractual commitments,
and we intend to fully protect our legal and contractual rights," said
EchoStar CEO and Chairman Charlie Ergen.
EchoStar Communications Corp., includes three interrelated business units:
- DISH Network™ is EchoStar's state-of-the-art DBS system that
offers customers over 300 channels of digital video and
CD-quality audio programming, fully MPEG-2/DVB compliant hardware
and installation. - EchoStar Technologies Corporation (ETC, formerly HTS™ -
Houston Tracker Systems, Inc.), designs, manufactures and
distributes DBS set-top boxes, antennas and other digital
equipment for DISH Network and various international customers
that include ExpressVu Canada and Telefonica's Via Digital system
in Spain. ETC also provides uplink-center design, construction
oversight and project-integration services for customers
internationally. - Satellite Services provides the delivery of video, audio and data
services to business television customers and other satellite
users. These services include satellite uplink, satellite
transponder space-usage and other services. Satellite Services
also administers SKY VISTA, a direct broadcast satellite service
offering up to 27 channels of popular digital satellite
television programming to viewers in Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico
and the U.S. territories in the Caribbean.
DISH Network currently serves over 2 million customers. DISH Network is a trademark of EchoStar Communications Corporation. HTS is a trademark of Houston Tracker Systems, Inc. DISH Network is located on the Internet at: www.dishnetwork.com
CONTACT: EchoStar Communications Corp., Littleton Judianne Atencio, Communications Director, 303/723-2010 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
KEYWORD: COLORADO INDUSTRY KEYWORD: TELECOMMUNICATIONS ENTERTAINMENT