Ciel Satellite awarded orbital slotCiel Satellite Communications Inc. has been awarded the rights to the 129 degrees west orbital slot over a competing bid by BCE Inc.-owned Telesat Canada. The decision, released on September 24, should be welcome news to the satellite services industry as it introduces facilities-based competition in the Canadian satellite services market. For more than 30 years, Telesat was the sole commercial satellite provider in Canada, but it will now be up against Ciel, an Ottawa-based company that is owned by Barrett Corp., Borealis Infrastructure Corp. SES Americom and Smyth Satellite Holdings. Ciel plans to begin offering service in 2009. A representative from Ciel could not be reached for comment by press time, but in its application to the department earlier this year the company said this would be an important decision for Industry Canada. “Ciel firmly believes that if sustainable domestic satellite competition among Canadian service licensees is to be attained, the time is now or the opportunity will be lost,” the company wrote in its application (RoW, June 1/04). But Paul Bush, VP of broadcast and corporate development at Telesat, expressed disappointment with the department’s ruling. “It’s maddening,” he says, because Telesat has invested more than $2 billion in satellite capacity for the Canadian market, only to have a Canadian orbital resource awarded to what he considers a “storefront” for a U.S. operator. “It’s not a new slot for Ciel, it’s a 12th slot of SES Americom,” Bush tells Report on Wireless. Report on Wireless will have more on this in an upcoming issue.