Liberty Severs World Space India Service

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Liberty Satellite Radio has elected not to include World Space India as part of its ongoing operation and acquisition of assets and infrastructure from the bankrupt U.S.-based parent satcaster, according to a story by Chris Forrester in RapidTV News.

The move, which reportedly came on the heels of "due diligence" completed late last year by a team of Liberty Media executives, effectively closes out the Indian operation and brought service to roughly 400,000 subscribers in the subcontinent to an end on Dec. 31. The service had been beamed into India via World Space's Asia Star satellite, now controlled by Liberty as part of the asset package picked up in a Delaware bankruptcy court.

Even so, Forrester reports that India's consumers won't miss a beat in terms of access to satellite delivered radio channels, as DBS TV service provider Airtel now offers 10 program streams originating from All India Radio to its subscribers. Airtel had also been carrying content from World Space India.

Observers note that World Space's India operation never delivered the kind of subscriber numbers required for service profitability, partly because the firm never secured spectrum clearance and licensing for the terrestrial repeaters essential for reliable service.

Liberty's decision to terminate World Space India operations is said to have evoked expressions of surprise from its employees there, some of whom claimed to have learned of the shutdown only days before it occurred.

Neither Liberty Satellite Radio, nor its parent, Liberty Media, have yet released any detailed information regarding future plans for the newly acquired World Space assets or platforms, though speculation centers on a new European sat radio service programmed by Sirius/XM.

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