On Thursday, the FCC released an order agreeing to allow a company to provide Direct Broadcast Satellite service to the United States using Dutch satellites. If this company were to actually implement this service, it would compete directly with DIRECTV and Echostar (Dish Network), and compete as well in the larger multichannel video space with numerous other companies including cable television and, in many markets, the telephone companies who are now introducing video services.
The fact that the FCC has authorized this service does not mean it will be introduced. Satellite services must also secure approvals from international agencies that coordinate uses between different countries, and they must secure the substantial financing necessary to construct and launch the satellite in face of all the other competition that exists in the market. It will be a process to watch over the coming years to see if this service ever comes to market. But FCC approval is the first step toward introducing this competitive service.