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EchoStar Agrees To Buy Key VOOM Assets For $200M

2/07/2005 02:00:00 AM Eastern

ENGLEWOOD, COLO. — EchoStar agreed to purchase the satellite and ground facilities used for the struggling VOOM HD-centric satellite TV service from Cablevision and its Rainbow DBS unit for $200 million, the companies announced.

The satellite, called Rainbow 1, is located at 61.5 degrees and includes 13 frequencies, up to 12 of which can be operated in spot-beam mode. The deal also includes rights to 11 additional DBS frequencies at the orbital location.

EchoStar currently operates its EchoStar II satellite at the 61.5 degree location.

EchoStar said it is still assessing how it will incorporate the Voom assets into its current operation. The deal is subject to review by the Federal Communications Commission and other regulatory agencies, the companies said.

Cablevision said it would look to sell off remaining assets related to Voom that were covered in the deal. It will continue to provide VOOM TV service to the 26,000 subscribers during the transition process. What happens after that was not disclosed.

The sale follows a decision by Cablevision's board earlier this week to sell off the VOOM operation. In reaching the decision, board members sided with Cablevision's CEO James Dolan over his father Charles, the founding chairman of Cablevision who reportedly wanted to continue funding the satellite venture.

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