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Opposition to a DARS Merger

27 марта 2007
The business community now waits to see what exactly will come of the announced plans to merge the country's two satellite radio providers XM and Sirius. Some see the deal as being a benefit to both companies and their respective shareholders and subscribers - most see the regulatory hurdles as being a serious obstacle in pulling the deal off.

One group, the Progress and Freedom Foundation, doesn't see a problem with the deal. In fact, one of its contributors, a self-described "satellite radio fanatic," has written that there are strong reasons for the Federal Communications Commission to approve the deal "immediately and unconditionally." Among those reasons, said PFF's Adam Thierer, are soaring debt among the individual companies and an increasingly difficult market for XM and Sirius to compete for listeners.

However, another group is vowing to oppose the merger and has committed itself to the upcoming regulatory battle. The Consumer Coalition for Competition in Satellite Radio (C3SR) - a group of law students/satellite radio subscribers - said it is "ready to fight for consumer choice and public interest."

C3SR said an approval of the XM/Sirius deal would give way to a "monopoly" single satellite radio operator that "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." Group founder Chris Reale also said that when the FCC originally granted the SDARS licenses, the commission concluded that the public interest was served and that it "includes the protection of competition not competitors."

C3SR said it is seeking additional support from Sirius and XM subscribers and from other consumer advocacy groups and key industry allies who 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," Reale said. "Satellite radio subs' investment in equipment and programming packages must be protected."



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