NICE AND EASY: Does AT&T still have a satellite at the 110 location?

Oh, if only it were nice and easy. Since 2002, DIRECTV (and now AT&T) has had an operational satellite at the 110 location. For about a decade, that satellite has been used exclusively for standard-definition programming for Puerto Rico’s DIRECTV customers.

Satellite service in Puerto Rico

The effects of Hurricane Maria in 2017 directly impacted satellite TV in Puerto Rico. With little to no power on the island and many satellite TV systems in ruin, it was an opportunity for everyone to stop and take a look at what really matters. Now, 18 months later, we’re seeing not only satellite TV in Puerto Rico but also high definition TV service which has been late coming to the island.

This excellent resource at iamanedgecutter.com is kept up to date by dedicated volunteers who pour over FCC data about what’s going on in the sky. These volunteers have a lot to say. A number of HD channels broadcast to Puerto Rico on the 99 and 103 satellites. However, the only listed broadcast from the DIRECTV 5 satellite at 110 is a test channel.

What’s the deal?

I’m as curious as any of you to find out the whole story and I have reached out to a number of people at AT&T to try to get more information.

The DIRECTV 5 satellite is one of the oldest ones in the fleet. It has only 32 transponders in the Ku band, meaning that it could (at most) hold about 100 HD channels. It’s smart of AT&T to plan ahead for its retirement. At the same time, it will be years before Puerto Rico’s infrastructure completely recovers. This is the right time to put brand new dishes on people’s roofs that receive HD and even 4K content.

DIRECTV Puerto Rico is a separate business unit with some shared programs and some unique programs. Some of the channels are the same as what you see in the US. Some are unique to that market. Getting customers to use dishes that receive the same satellite signals as the US opens up a lot of opportunity.

Watch this space

I’ll report more as I find out. If the 110 satellite is going to come back strong, you’ll hear it here. You’ll also hear if there’s a retirement plan for the satellite.