Democrats To FCC: Restrict XM-Sirius Deal
May 2, 2008 at 5:36 AM (PT)
The proposed merger of XM SATELLITE RADIO and SIRIUS SATELLITE RADIO may have sailed through a U.S. Department of Justice review without conditions, but key congressional Democrats are urging the FCC to impose limits designed to protect consumers, reports CNET.COM.
In a letter on THURSDAY, Reps. JOHN DINGELL (D-MI) and EDWARD MARKEY (D-MA) said they're not taking a position on whether the FCC should clear the deal, but they believe the regulators should consider certain steps as they weigh whether the union of the only two U.S. satellite radio operators satisfies the "public interest." DINGELL and MARKEY are the chairmen of two House of Representatives panels that oversee the FCC.
Here's the relevant portion outlining what they'd like to see:
First, the Commission should require the merged entity to adhere, at a minimum, to the pricing constraints that XM and SIRIUS have already submitted to the Commission.
Second, the Commission should require the merged company to permit any device manufacturer to develop equipment that can deliver the company's satellite radio service.
Attorneys general from 11 states have made similar recommendations. In their effort to win over regulators last year, the two companies unveiled plans to offer new packages of channels at reduced rates and committed, at least informally, to not raise their monthly subscription fees.
FCC Chairman KEVIN MARTIN said in late MARCH that the agency is inching closer to a decision on whether the deal passes muster.