Public Knowledge Files Comments On Sat Merger
July 11, 2008 at 6:45 AM (PT)
The public interest group PUBLIC KNOWLEDGE has filed comments in response to a Public Notice from the FCC requesting comment on the proposed XM/SIRIUS merger. The comments generally parallel GIGI SOHN’s previous testimony before Congress. Like the testimony, the comments state that if the Dept. of Justice approves the merger under its own criteria, the FCC should approve the merger. However, the merger should only be approved under certain conditions that would serve the public interest by promoting diverse programming, giving consumers additional choices and keeping prices in check.
The comments also include two important additions -- a clarification of the price-freeze condition and a request that the FCC initiate a rulemaking in regards to terrestrial radio’s current monopoly on local programming.
The core of PUBLIC KNOWLEDGE’s position lies in three proposed conditions. These conditions are designed to ensure that the benefits of the merger will be passed on to the public. Specifically, the merger should be conditioned on 1) providing consumers with pricing choices such as a la carte or tiered programming; 2) the new company allocating 5% of its capacity to non-commercial educational and informational programming over which it has no editorial control; and 3) not raising prices for three years.