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New Teleport Sites Springing Up across All Regions of the Country.

A collection of communications antennas at one location has long been called an "antenna farm." But in this high-tech world, that term somehow didn't seem quite glamorous enough to explain the new breed or antenna sites sprouting from coast to coast, offering a host of advanced--and basic--telecommunications services to the business world via satellite, microwave and fiber-optic links.

You generally can tell when an industry has arrived--the pioneers form an association. Sure enough, this past June, 54 charters members of the newly formed American Teleport Association (ATA) met in San Antonio to elect officers. Robert Schmidt, founder of the CTM Teleport-Washington and president of the National Cable Television Association from 1975 to 1979, was elected

president. Gerry Hanneman of the ELRA Group was elected vice president, John Crone of the Texas Teleport is secretary and Barry Pasternak of Tele-Link is treasurer.

The 54 members included operational and soon-to-be operational teleport operators from II cities, as well as real-estate developers, hardware vendors and communications law firms.

In taking a look at the various teleports planned and now in operation, we'll take a swing from east to midwest to south to west, although we'll cover the most ambitious project--the New York Teleport--in a separate story on page 104 of this issue.

This past August, Communications Technology Management of McLean, Virginia, completed its CTM-Teleport/Washington to provide voice, video and data services for the Washington, DC metropolitan area. It is an integration of two systems--a multiple dish transmit and receive earth station facility interconnected by full-dupler microwave to a dozen strategically located customer drop points, including AT&T.

According to CTM President Bob Schmidt, customers include ABC, NBC, Group W-Satellite News Channel, Biz-Net, the Bonneville Satellite Corporation, the Labor News Network (AFSCME), Pyramid Video-National Press Building, Standard Communications and a number of independent television news stations and teleconferencing companies.

Another Washington teleport, the National Teleport, is calling itself the first downtown teleport, noting that the others are typically located in suburban areas. It says that because it uses Ku-band (14/12-GHz) technology, a band that's not shared with terrestrial communications, the earth stations can operate in a congested metropolitan area interference-free. National Teleport is a partnership of National Teleport, a subsidiary of VideoStar Connections of Atlanta, and Microwave Express, a subsidiary of Pyamid Video of Washington, DC. The facility will have direct access to both US and Canadian satellites.

Plans call for installation of two five-meter Ku-band transmit/receive earth stations with multiple interconnections via fiber optics, coaxial cables and microwave to locations throughout the greater Washington area. There will be expansion space for as many as six additional earth stations. The company recently awarded a contract to the Harris Satellite Communications Division for the Ku-band equipment to be used. Included are two 6.1-meter Delta Gain antennas and all transmit/receive electronics for the teleport, which is to be located atop the National Press Building on Pennsylvania Avenue. In addition to the antennas, the uplink equipment includes a computer-based antenna control system, new Ku-band video exciters, receivers and low-noise converter system. Advantages of Ku-Band

Ray Pawley, vice president for Harris Satellite, explains, "As the first teleport in a downtown location, the National Teleport will demonstrate the advantages of Ku-band operation. The convenience of location, the freedom from signal interference and the quality of performance are important breakthroughs for urban communication links."

The teleport will provide customers with video uplinking and downlinking, along with microwave interconnect to the press building, video post-production, tape playback and feed.

A new facility called Capitol Earthbase recently became operational in Raleigh, North Carolina, operated by Capitol Satellite and Communications Systems. Three satellite antennas have been installed in Phase One of the project growth plan. Land is available at the antenna site for expansion to as many as 12 dishes.

Capitol Earthbase presently has a 10-meter Scientific-Atlanta uplink that's capable of transmitting to any domestic satellite. With the uplink, the firm transmits news, sports, weather, TV programming and teleconferences for clients such as ABC, NBC, CBS and CNN. A seven-meter uplink serves the Capitol Radio Networks. Capitol owns a system of more than 100 satellite receive antennas located at radio stations in North Carolina and Virginia. An identical uplink is located in Richmond. The third antenna is a seven-meter receive-only for WRAL-TV in Raleigh. This past July, Capitol Earthbase began using Starshooter, a transportable video uplink.

The Atlanta Teleport is the new name adopted for the expanded satellite communications operations of Satellite Syndicated Systems (SSS) in Douglasville, Georgia. The facility, which has been in operation for about five years, recently began attracting customers with plans to establish satellite-based networks of their own, explains Selman Kremer, SSS executive vice president. He says that Argo Communications, which is developing a network of satellite-delivered switch telephone services, has leased both land and tower space from the teleport. Group W has also used the facilities for new transmissions.

The facility currently distributes the signals of superstation WTBS, Satellite Program Network and all SSS vertical blanking interval and audio subcarrier services, including Keefax National Teletext Magazine, CableText data services and SCAN (Satellite Cable Audio Networks).

Its 10-acre site houses an 11-meter transmit/receive dish, two 10-meter transmit-receive antennas, two three-meter receive-only units and one Torus multi-beam receive-only antenna, as well as one portable transmit/receive unit. A dual-hop microwave path can be modified to further broaden the teleport's service areas, allowing interconnection with existing AT&T loops, says Kremer.

This past summer, the Ohio Teleport Corporation (formerly called the Columbus Teleport) reached an agreement with the State of Ohio to manage excess communications capacity on the statewide microwave system being developed by the state government. A connection is planned between an Ohio Teleport earth station to be located at Ohio State University's Don Scott Field and the statewide microwave system.

The state has invested $15.7 million in electronic and tower improvements to develop its own communications system. The combined system is planned to be in service by next July.

At the end of last June, Ohio Bell tentatively argeed to become an investorowner of Ohio Teleport, joining the four original shareowners: CompuServe, Ohio State University, Chemical Abstracts Service Division of the American Chemical Society and Ruscilli Realty.

Midwestern Relay, which owns and operates extensive microwave communications facilities throughout Northern Illinois, Wisconsin, Eastern Minnesota and Northern Iowa, operating Teleport-Chicago. The facility is capable of sending and receiving signals from any of the domestic communications satellites now in service or planned, according to General Manager Ron Renaud.

Its earth station site, located on a 2.3-acre plot about 10 miles north of the Chicago Loop, presently has three 10-meter antennas. The teleport is connected to the downtown Chicago operating center, and offers microwave links directly to customer sites. Midwestern Relay, a division of The Journal Company of Milwaukee, has a 250-foot guyed tower to accommodate microwave antennas for connecting with its operating center in Chicago's Merchandise Mart. The site can be expanded to include as many as 15 10-meter antennas, according to Renaud. The company is presently working on an international facility for IRI (International Relay Incorporated).

The Dallas-Fort worth Teleport (DFWT) has begun operations at the Dallas Communications Complex, located at Las Colinas. It's a partnership of Crow Communications of Dallas (part of the large Trammell Crow real estate development company), Communications Tech Management of Texas (a subsidiary of CTM of McLean, Virginia, which operates CTM Teleport-Washington) and Uplinks Unlimited of Dallas (local operators that were purchased by the partnership).

DFWT is a 24-hour-a-day satellite facility currently carrying about 200 hours of video to satellite for sports, news and cablecast clients within the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex area. Plans for expansion include the possibility for leasing teleport "slips" to corporate entities and offering interconnect services, as well as expanding teleport services to the voice and data area. Gulf Coast Systems

Gulf Teleport was organized in September 1983 to build a teleport facility in Houston, one that will offer audio, video and data communications capabilities to Texas and Louisiana Gulf Coast cities. In addition to providing microwave connecting links directly to major industrial and commercial centers in the Houston area, the firm plans to provide major terrestrail microwave trunk lines to Lake Charles, Beaumont, Orange, Port Arthur, Port Lavaca, Victoria and Corpus Christi.

The teleport facility will provide access to a number of the presently orbiting and proposed domestic satellites. In addition, Comsat says it's planning to build an earth station at the facility, for operation next year, following FCC approval. The Comsat earth station would relay international business services from the teleport to points in Europe, Africa and South America through the Intelsat system. It would have the capability to relay digital transmissions at rates of 56 and 64 kb/s to 1.5 Mb/s and higher for a variety of services, including digitized voice, data, computer-to-computer communication and videoconferencing.

Comsat President Irving Goldstein says it would be one of several around the US at which Comsat plans to build an earth station to provide international satellite transmissions.

Gulf Teleport evidently will have a neighbor. Satellite Transmission and Reception Specialists (STARS) recently announced plans to build a Houston International Teleport on a four-acre site in southwest metro-Houston, and expected to be operational in the middle of September. STARS is a Houston-based company providing transportable uplink and downlink services nationwide. It presently has five uplink units. It also has an affiliate, ProStar, a signal-protection (encryption) company.

The local interconnect range for the telegport will cover a 300-mile radius, so it will also serve Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio, Austin and Mew Orleans, according to Dave Olson, managing partner of the venture. He adds, "A typical Houston business requring intensive transmission of data will be able to increase its capabilities by 200 to 600 percent by switching from a wireline system to satellite."

Initially, service will be to the domestic satellites over the continental United States, but the firm has plans to expand to international satellites as soon as clearances are obtained, says Olson. The $10-million teleport will have a capacity for 30 earth stations. At "Strategic Junction"

In San Antonio, Mayor Henry Cisneros appointed Andy Lagueruela, chairman of Satelco, to chair an advisory committee to study the creation of a teleport for the city. According to the mayor, "The creation of a sophisticated communications infrastructure would be very important for the further development of the San Antonio-Austin high-technology corridor." Lagueruela sees San Antonio located in "a strategic junction for footprints of transatlantic, transpacific, Latin american and US satellites."

Out west, the Harbor Bay Teleport is planned for the Harbor Bay Business Park in Alameda, California, offering a digital regional terrestrial microwave distribution system interconnected with satellite facilities for interstate or international access. The project is a joint venture of Doric Development, development of the community of Harbor Bay in Alameda, and Pacific Telecom, a subsidiary of Pacific Power & Light or Portland. Another of their ventures, Harbor Bay Telecommunications, offers tenants of Harbor Bay Business Park voice and data switching, voice messaging, electronic mail, localarea networking, videoconferencing and other enhanced communications services.

The cornerstone of Harbor Bay Teleport is an InteCom digital PBX. By sharing the resources of the PBX, HBT subscribers have access to a wide varity of sophisticated telecommunications services that typically would be available only to buyers of large private telecommunications systems.

For a more-comprehensive look at the growing availability of multi-tenant communications facilities--where the building owner installs a large central telecommunications facility and partitions it for use by all tenants--turn to page 40 of this issue.

The Bay area Teleport will receive voice and data signals from around the country and re-transmit them by microwave and fiber-optic links to customers in the San francisco Bay area--as far north as Santa Rosa, east to Walnut Creek and Sacramento, south to San Jose and west to San Francisco and Palo Alto.
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Copyright 1984 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Communications News
Date:Oct 1, 1984
Previous Article:Huge Microwave Radio Project Set for West African Nations.
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