Washington - Jul 18, 2008 - Up to now, it appeared that FCC Commissioner Deborah Taylor Tate would have the deciding vote in the satellite radio merger debate. FCC Chairman Kevin Martin has openly expressed his support for the deal with certain restrictions. Commissioner McDowell has also supported the merger. Commissioner Copps has opposed it, and it was expected that his Democrat party colleague Jon Adelstein would vote with him. That left Republican Taylor Tate to break the tie. Or so it was thought.
The Associated Press and other news outlets are reporting that Adelstein has made a proposal to allow the merger if the companies agree to a six-year price cap and make 25 percent of their spectrum capacity available for public interest and minority programming in addition to other conditions. The Associated Press speculates that Adelstein used the timing and pressure facing Taylor Tate to seek further conditions on the merger.
Adelstein told the Associated Press, "It's critical that if we're going to allow a monopoly, that we put in adequate consumer protections and make sure they're enforced."
Sirius and XM agreed to cap subscription fees for three years and provide 24 channels to for non-comm and minority programming. Adelstein's proposal doubles the term and triples the spectrum requirement.