Skynet, EchoStar pact

Alliance to broaden satcaster's reach

WASHINGTON — Loral Skynet and EchoStar Communications have teamed in an alliance that will broaden the satcaster’s reach to the Caribbean, the Pacific and Alaska.

The new alliance will offer digital video and data services to DBS subscribers, programmers and cable operators, according to a press release put out by the companies.

“The alliance between Loral Skynet and EchoStar will enable specialty programmers to build a cost-effective distribution path to their audiences by using Loral Skynet’s and EchoStar’s existing infrastructure,” said Loral Skynet prexy Terry Hart.

The deal calls for Loral and Echostar to combine their space, ground and digital distribution assets. “This partnership offers EchosStar a wider breadth of capabilities in offering ethnic and business television programming and expands our distribution to the Caribbean and beyond,” said EchoStar topper Charlie Ergen.

The press release makes no mention of the pending Justice Dept. lawsuit against potential DBS rival Primestar. The Justice Dept. has asked a federal court to block Primestar’s acquisition of DBS slots that would put the cable-controlled company in direct competition with EchoStar. Both Loral and EchoStar have been mentioned as potential buyers of the DBS slots if Justice succeeds in blocking the deal.