Robert N. Wold, who founded his namesake satellite-communications company 15 years ago, expects to break ground in Hollywood this September for the Southland's first international "teleport"--a one-stop center that will provide access to the emerging, electronically linked global village.
Wold likens the Wold Los Angeles International Teleport to Los Angeles International Airport.
The teleport's earth-station complex will include eight antennas to handle domestic communications and two linking the center to international satellites over the Pacific and the Atlantic. "Our customers may arrive and depart from the same location on eight different domestic and two different international 'airlines' with a tremendous network of feeder routes," he said in a company newsletter.
The six-story Wold Communications Center, to rise just off Vine Street between Santa Monica Boulevard and Melrose Avenue, will contain about 60,000 square feet, offering office space for the 135 employees now working at three locations in Hollywood and Westwood, and containing a television studio and stage.
Completion is expected early next year, assuming no delay in approvals from the city of Los Angeles and the Federal Communications Commission.
The idea of rounding out the transmission-reception capability of an "earth station" or "antenna farm" into a full-service teleport is little more than a decade old, according to Bill Hynes, Wold's executive vice president and general manager.
The first teleport was launched three years ago on Staten Island by the city of New York, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, Merrill Lynch and Western Union, but the New York Teleport only began operation last year. Other U.S. teleports serve the San Francisco Bay Area, Chicago, Washington, Houston and 17 other locations, according to the American Teleport Assn. Another 20 are reported under construction.
Most teleports are located in the fringes of major metropolitan areas, within hailing distance of their major corporate clients. Wold's will be even closer at its Hollywood site, particularly to the entertainment industry.
"The teleport will open up new doors for satellite users," Hynes predicted. "For the first time, television program syndicators will have easy and cost-efficient access to international program markets, since tape origination, playback and 'uplink' to the Intelsat satellites will all take place at the full-service facility.
"Clients may use the fully equipped television studio and international uplink capability for live video conferences around the world," he said. "Sports and news clients may stop in at the teleport for . . . transmissions with both domestic and international destinations."