Consumer Group Ready To Oppose Satellite Radio Merger
February 20, 2007 at 9:53 AM (PT)
A day after the XM-SIRIUS merger was announced, the CONSUMER COALITION FOR COMPETITION IN SATELLITE RADIO (C3SR) said it "is ready to oppose the merger and fight for consumer choice and public interest." C3SR Founder CHRIS REALE states, "A monopoly satellite radio provider would be able to raise prices and cut programming to a growing number of consumers that have come to rely on satellite radio for news and entertainment. If this merger is permitted to go forward, there will be no protection of competition and there will be no competitors."
C3SR seeks additional support from SIRIUS and XM subscribers and from other consumer and industry groups that oppose the merger. "While C3SR will never compromise its independence as a voice for SIRIUS and XM subscribers, we are looking to join forces with other groups that are willing to support our cause," said REALE. "Satellite radio subscribers' investment in equipment and specific programming packages must be protected, and we hope that alliances with established interest groups will be possible."
C3SR was launched earlier this year by a group of law students -- all satellite radio subscribers -- to counter what they call "the potentially dim prospects facing subscribers of satellite radio under a monopoly provider." REALE added, "Our main goal right now is to stop this merger. If a merger were to be approved, subscribers would likely end up paying more for less programming and would end up subsidizing unwanted services."
Martin: 'The Hurdle Would Be High'
Indeed, the FCC will evaluate any proposed transaction to ensure it's in the public interest, FCC Chairman KEVIN MARTIN said following the merger announcement, adding, "The hurdle here, however, would be high as the commission originally prohibited one company from holding the only two satellite radio licenses. The companies would need to demonstrate that consumers would clearly be better off with both more choice and affordable prices."