Georgia lawmaker gives thumbs down to XM/Sirius


Paul C. Broun (R-GA) has joined the ranks of Capitol Hill legislators who see that there is no basis for allowing the merger into monopoly between XM Satellite Radio and Sirius Satellite Radio. He recently fired off a letter to three relevant bureaucrats on the matter. Included among the addressees were AG Michael B. Mukasey, FTC Chair Deborah Platt Majoras and FCC Chair Kevin Martin.
Noting that the FCC chartered two competing services at the outset, Broun wrote, "The FCC decision has resulted in robust competition and expanded choice for the American consumer, all of which would be undermined by a merger of Sirius and XM. Without the presence of a similarly situated, direct competitor, a united Sirius/XM would be free to raise consumer prices, unchecked in the marketplace. The FCC has never before allowed the only two competitors in a given market to combine. Present circumstances do not warrant the FCC’s complete reversal of its conclusions in the satellite licensing decision, or the consumer benefits and protections that have resulted from that decision. Please maintain the market competition that is analogous to the competition in the satellite television arena."
RBR/TVBR observation: You would think that the FCC would have enough institutional memory of its reasoning in preventing the proposed DISH Network/DirecTV merger under former Chair Michael Powell to see that this is almost exactly the same thing. We would further remind the Commission that while we see many people at our local gym plugged into various audio devices, we have yet to see a single person wearing a satellite dish on their head. Despite the argument that the DARs companies are but a small little corner of a vast audio marketplace, an iPod is no replacement for a satellite radio subscription, nor does satellite radio replace an iPod. Ideally, satellite and terrestrial radio programmers help inform our choice of music to acquire FOR our iPod. The anti-monopoly arguments against this merger seem so straight-forward it is amazing that the proposal to completely overturn the founding charters of these companies is even getting serious consideration.