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Officials Call For Sirius/XM Limits

Washington — Two key congressmen are the latest officials to ask the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to impose stipulations on a Sirius/XM merger.

Representatives John Dingell (D-Mich.) and Edward Markey (D-Mass.) asked the Commission yesterday to ensure that the satellite radio companies adhere to their proposed a la carte pricing structure if they are permitted to merge. They also asked that the FCC permit any manufacturer to supply satellite radios and to disallow exclusive contracts (such as one that barred the inclusion of HD-Radio chips) in satellite radios.

The representatives, however, said they were not taking a stance on whether the FCC should give final approval to the pending merger.

Dingell is Chairman of the Committee on Energy and Commerce and Markey is Chairman of the Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet.

Late last month, attorneys generals from Maryland, Connecticut, Ohio and Washington petitioned the FCC to block the proposed Sirius/XM merger because it posed a threat to competition and could result in higher prices and poorer service, they said. But if the FCC did approve the merger, they asked that Sirius and XM be required to lease spectrum so a competing service could emerge.

Some analysts said that federal regulators often impose some stipulations on a merger, such as the proposed Sirius and XM deal.