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TECHNOLOGY & TELECOMMUNICATIONS

<i> Times Staff and Wire Reports</i>

Group Sues to Overturn FCC Decision on Satellite TV: A consortium of cable TV operators that includes Tele-Communications Inc. said it asked a U.S. appeals court in Washington to overturn a government decision that barred TCI from buying a hotly contested satellite-TV license. TCI, the nation’s largest cable operator, had sought to offer a direct broadcast satellite (DBS) service by buying the license for the orbital slots from a Virginia company that had failed to put together a DBS service. Primestar, the satellite-TV entertainment service that filed suit, had planned to lease the slots from TCI. Primestar is backed by TCI, five other cable operators and a General Electric Co. satellite unit. But the Federal Communications Commission decided last month to bar the sale. Instead, the agency voted to auction the license early next year. That would permit powerhouses such as MCI Communications Corp. to bid for the permit. Industry officials say the sale could fetch up to $700 million. A TCI unit, Tempo DBS Inc., and Advanced Communications Corp. of Arlington, Va., the original holder of the license, filed separate suits seeking to overturn the FCC decision.


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