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NRTC TO BRING DIRECTV(SM) SATELLITE SERVICES TO RURAL AMERICA

 NRTC TO BRING DIRECTV(SM) SATELLITE SERVICES TO RURAL AMERICA
 LOS ANGELES, April 22 /PRNewswire/ -- A wide variety of quality entertainment television programming, broadcast directly to rural homes equipped with 18-inch satellite antennas, will be available in early 1994 as a result of an agreement between Hughes Communications Inc. and the National Rural Telecommunications Cooperative (NRTC).
 The agreement entitles NRTC and its utility members and affiliates to market and distribute a package of 20 channels of popular cable and broadcast television programming, transmitted via Hughes' DirecTv(SM) entertainment distribution system, to rural households throughout the nation. NRTC members will also have the right to distribute other DirecTv programming to this underserved market. Rural utilities currently provide telecommunications and electric services to more than 12 million households.
 The agreement calls for NRTC to pay a distribution fee of up to $250 million to Hughes Communications for providing DirecTv services to all NRTC territories. Hughes will designate five of its DirecTv transponders on the first DBS satellite to deliver the programming package to NRTC subscribers.
 Under the terms of the agreement, Hughes is responsible for acquiring the programming for the 20-channel package. It will begin discussions immediately with the leading cable and broadcast programmers regarding the opportunity to add this new rural market to their existing viewing universe.
 "We are delighted to enter into this marketing partnership with the NRTC," declared Eddy Hartenstein, senior vice president for Hughes Communications and head of the DirecTv project. "The rural market is key to the development of DBS in the United States and we could not have covered this territory with the same degree of knowledge and service expertise as the NRTC members and affiliates. We are committed to providing DirecTv distribution services to NRTC in order to give rural America the same information and entertainment that other parts of the country now enjoy," he added.
 NRTC's Chief Executive Officer Bob Phillips said that the Hughes/NRTC agreement holds great significance for rural America. "This exciting agreement between NRTC and Hughes changes the picture of rural television reception forever," Phillips said. "It means affordable access to a broad array of television programming available from the same rural utilities which have provided high quality electric and telephones services to rural areas for 50 years," Phillips said.
 "This partnership brings together NRTC's dedicated rural service infrastructure with Hughes' position as the leader in the satellite industry. Hughes' expertise and its commitment to NRTC is the solid bedrock on which this successful DBS venture will be based. We are excited about bringing universal television service to rural America," Phillips added.
 In delivering the programming services, Hughes will utilize the digital compression, security encryption, uplinking and satellite control systems developed for the DirecTv distribution system. NRTC will use the home receiving system being developed by Thomson Consumer Electronics and distributed under the RCA brand name, as well as the conditional access security system provided by News Datacom.
 The DirecTv service will be carried on the first U.S. high-power direct broadcast satellite, currently under construction at Hughes Aircraft Co. and scheduled for launch in December 1993. The satellite will carry programming services for DirecTv and United States Satellite Broadcasting Inc. (USSB). Last summer, USSB purchased five transponders on the first satellite and will provide its own programming services. Hughes Communications has the remaining 11 on the first satellite of which five are designated for the Hughes/NRTC project. Hughes owns all 16 transponders on the second satellite. When the system is in full operation at 101 degrees West longitude, more than 150 programming services will be offered.
 Because the majority of homes in rural areas do not have access to cable television, high-powered DBS service is considered the most convenient and economic method of providing multi-channel video service to this underserved rural market.
 The DirecTv home receiving system, consisting of an 18-inch dish and receiver, will be made available to consumers at an initial cost of $700 or less. The DirecTv system will spur new growth in the satellite dish industry, which now depends on large C-band satellite systems to deliver programming to rural and urban markets.
 NRTC is a suburban Washington D.C.-based satellite and advanced telecommunications cooperative owned and controlled by rural electric and rural telephone systems serving in 48 states. NRTC currently provides C-band satellite equipment and a program packaging service known as Rural TV to rural utility members. It also provides other telecommunications services to support other utility activities in its market areas.
 DirecTv, a business unit of Hughes Communications, will operate the United States' first high-power direct-to-home entertainment distribution system. Hughes Communications Inc., a subsidiary of Hughes Aircraft Co. and a unit of GM Hughes Electronics (NYSE: GMH), is the world's largest private commercial satellite owner and operator. Hughes Communications owns and operates five C-band Galaxy satellites and three SBS Ku-band satellites used for cable and broadcast television audio, and business data distribution.
 -0- 4/22/92
 /CONTACT: Thomas M. Bracken of DirecTv Communications, 310-535-5027; or Jeff Almen of the NRTC, 703-787-0874/
 (GMH) CO: DirecTv Communications Inc.; National Rural Telecommunications
 Cooperative ST: California, Washington D.C. IN: TLS SU:


KJ-JL -- LA004 -- 1072 04/22/92 09:08 EDT
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Date:Apr 22, 1992
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