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WhiteTara Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-02-08 09:21 AM
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FCC Tries to Avert Threatened Satellite Cutoff

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By Holly Watt
Special to The Washington Post
Saturday, August 2, 2008; Page A02

The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission issued a last-minute appeal to a satellite telecommunications company yesterday, urging it to continue providing Internet and other satellite-based services to a subscriber despite a contract dispute.

SES Americom had threatened to shut off satellite service to OnSat Network Communications, saying it is owed more than $4 million. Their dispute involves the delivery of Internet services to the Navajo Nation in Arizona, New Mexico and Utah


The Navajo tribe, which numbers about 250,000, lost free Internet in its libraries and community centers in April, leaving many people on the vast reservation miles from Internet access. OnSat, an Internet service provider, says that an arm of the FCC, Universal Service Administrative Co., owes it $2.1 million in federal funding.

That funding has been held up after a tribal audit revealed billing irregularities and questions over the bidding process. OnSat rejects the audit's findings and plans to fight them in tribal court.

Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.), who alerted Martin's agency to the Navajos' impasse, is "very glad the FCC is getting involved and hopes they can resolve the issue for the long term as well as the short term," said his spokeswoman Jude McCartin.
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