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FCC Seeks Comments On Rule Preventing Sirius-XM Merger

By | June 29, 2007

      The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is seeking public comments on the 1997 rule that would bar the merger of Sirius Satellite Radio and XM Satellite Radio.

      The FCC issued a notice of proposed rulemaking June 27 that seeks comment on whether the 1997 order that prohibits a holder of a satellite digital audio radio service license from owning another license holder should be waived, modified, or repealed.

      Sirius and XM claim the order is a “policy statement under the Administrative Procedure Act rather than a binding Commission rule because it was not codified in the Code of Federal Regulations.”
      Comments are due within 30 days after the rule is issued.

      Separately, XM and Sirius released a study June 28 by Harold Furchtgott-Roth, an economist and former FCC commissioner, that supports the proposed combination.

      XM and Sirius paid for the study, “An Economic Review of the Proposed Merger of XM and Sirius,” which has been filed with the FCC as part of the companies’ merger application.

      "After studying various economic factors and potential changes in competing communications services, I conclude that American consumers have a wide and rapidly expanding range of choices for communications services that compete with XM and Sirius,” Furchtgott-Roth said. “Additionally, these competitive choices discipline the prices that XM and Sirius charge subscribers today and will continue to do so regardless of whether the firms merge. I believe that government agencies should afford these companies the flexibility to respond to rapidly changing market conditions.”

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