Telesat Canada Anticipates More Satellite Orders

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Telesat Canada plans to order two new direct-broadcast television satellites in the coming months and likely will approve its share of another two satellites to replace the current generation of L-band mobile-communications spacecraft serving the United States and Canada, Telesat Chief Executive Larry J. Boisvert said.

Boisvert said that, buttressed by ongoing demand from the U.S. and Canadian governments for homeland security and other uses, Mobile Satellite Ventures’ Msat-1 and Msat-2 L-band mobile-communications satellites are likely to be replaced with second-generation satellites, with a decision expected in early 2005.

In a notably upbeat speech, Boisvert said all of Telesat’s principal businesses are set for sustainable growth. Telesat recently concluded an agreement with EchoStar Communications Corp. to provide the satellite TV company with all of the Ku-band capacity aboard the Anik F3 satellite. With access to the U.S. market from its Canadian orbital slots, Boisvert said, Telesat is entering into a growth phase.

The company’s large Anik F2 broadband communications satellite was launched July 17.

“I see more business opportunities today than I have ever seen in the 12 years I have been with this company,” Boisvert said.

But Telesat is unlikely to join its competitors in being sold to private-equity investors. Owner Bell Canada Enterprises (BCE), Boisvert said, has shown no desire to let go of Telesat despite informal inquiries from prospective buyers.