The Consumer Coalition for Competition in Satellite Radio Watchdog (C3SR), which observers say have more in common with business interests than consumers, has filed comments on the proposed XM/Siriue merger. They suggest that the failure of the two to come up with the interoperable receivers mandated in their charters was a deliberate act to restrain fair competition, that therefore their respective gains are ill-gotten and that they held accountable via forfeitures likely in excess of $250M.
C3SR claims that the interoperable failure was "the culmination of a coordinated plan to restrain trade in contravention of the public interest and in violation of the Commission’s rules and policies and of the antitrust laws" and opens the door to a forfeiture assessment. At minimum, C3SR thinks each and every subscriber should be given a free interoperable receiver if they’ve bought one receiver for each service (even though there currently is no such thing available), according to Ars Technica. It notes that a number of state attorneys general are jumping onto C3SR’s coattails. The satellite services, however, may be suggesting the liberal application of many grains of salt when reading the filing, since Ars Technica also notes that C3SR is largely composed of industry lobbyists.
Meanwhile, The Deal notes that FCC Chairman Kevin Martin is shortly heading out of town – way out of town – to attend an international communications forum in Asia. It speculates that this may push FCC consideration of the XM/Sirius merger into July, despite Martin’s repeated suggestion that it may be dispensed with one way or the other by the end of June.