Is AT&T getting rid of the 95 satellite location?

Is AT&T’s primary satellite for international programming going offline? This is a case where you have to pull out the magic 8 ball:

Yes folks it’s true. AT&T is moving away from providing international programming to US customers on the 95 satellite. But, this is not a bad thing! Let’s take a closer look.

What’s the deal with the 95 satellite?

The satellite at the 95 location is different from any other satellite in AT&T’s fleet. Properly named Galaxy 3C, it is the only satellite that carries DIRECTV programming that AT&T doesn’t own. It’s owned and operated by Intelsat and provides services for several different companies. The satellite uses different technology than any AT&T-owned satellite, which is why the WorldDIRECT dish has been used in the past.

That’s changing, though.

The Galaxy 3C satellite is already past its initial projected service life, but Intelsat hasn’t announced plans to move it to an end-of-life phase. It only makes sense that they will at some point, because eventually it will run out of fuel. When that happens it won’t be able to stay in the right orbit and it will have to be permanently moved to a parking orbit. This is part of the normal life of a satellite.

However, AT&T isn’t waiting around for that to happen. There is plenty of capacity at the 99, 101, and 103 satellite locations. AT&T owns and operates several huge satellites there. They’re coming toward the end of a multi-year project to move all DIRECTV programming to those locations.

When will this all come to pass?

Actually, it’s already happened. AT&T no longer provides programming at its 110 degree location. All the HD content from the 119 location is already available at one of the new primary locations, and the SD content will be discontinued.

Here’s the important bit for this article: All the DIRECTV content currently on the 95 satellite is already on AT&T’s 99 and 103 satellites. It’s on the Reverse Band frequencies so you’ll need a Reverse Band LNB to see it.

This is great news for customers!

What this means is, for the first time in about a decade, customers with AT&T’s international programming packages can get all of their programming with a single dish! For years, you needed the WorldDIRECT dish for international programming and a Slimline dish for HD programming. Finally, one dish will do it all. In fact, every single residential DIRECTV customers in the continental US can now use the very same dish. That’s a big win for AT&T.

What if you’re using the WorldDIRECT dish now?

There’s no published timeline for turning off DIRECTV programming on the 95 satellite, but you know it’s going to happen. You’re fine for now, but at some point in the next 12 months I would expect a notice from AT&T that you’ll need a new dish. I’m guessing they’ll do something similar to the HD upgrade program they did for standard-definition customers in recent years.

The best way to find out when you’ll be able to get a special upgrade deal? Check this blog frequently, or call the experts at Solid Signal at 888-233-7563 during East Coast business hours!

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.