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Monopoly in Space

07/30/2008
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A much debated merger between the nation’s only two satellite radio companies, Sirius and XM, would appear to be a certainty.

Only one Commissioner, Deborah Taylor Tate, is left to vote and her “yes” would be decisive.

It would seem that this will be a done deal when the two companies agree to price caps on subscriptions, commit to manufacturing radios that receive both XM and Sirius signals and agree to set aside channels for educational, minoirty and women programming.

One Commissioner who voted “no” on the deal argues that a combined company would control a large part of the public air waves. Jonathan Adelstein goes on to claim this combination has “more spectrum than AM and FM combined.” He added, “It’s an enormous amount of market power to be concentrating on one company without insuring there’s adequate protections for consumers.”

Also voicing its opposition to the merger is National Public Radio who has two channels on Sirius Satellite Radio. NPR’s objections are based on their belief that the merger would create a monopoly satellite radio provider.

I have to side with NPR on this issue and I really don’t think the general public will be served with this “public” air wave monopoly. Stay tuned, for the growth of these two companies has not been overwhelming and neither XM nor Sirius has managed to sign up enough subscribers to cover their operating costs.

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