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XM Resets Launch For Late September

XM announced it has rescheduled its official launch in the Dallas-Fort Worth and San Diego markets to Sept. 25 following the postponement on Sept. 12 due to the terrorist attacks.

Service has actually been turned on and is available to consumers, however the Sept. 25 event will serve as the official press launch.

In addition, XM said it has received permission from the Federal Communications Commission to operate XM’s repeaters for a period of 180 days, marking stage two in the FCC licensing process. “The next stage would be for the FCC to finalize the rules governing how these repeaters should be operated and that would be a final authorization,” a spokesman said.

The postponement occurred in part because the tragedy interrupted FCC deliberations on granting Special Temporary Authority (STA) to XM to use its terrestrial repeater networks on a temporary basis until March 18, 2002. By that time, XM hopes the FCC will finalize rules for the repeaters’ permanent operation.

Wireless carriers such as AT&T and BellSouth opposed the STA, as did the National Association of Broadcasters. The carriers fear interference with their networks, and broadcasters fear the terrestrial repeater network’s potential to transmit local programming, which could compete with local radio station programs. In fact, XM and Sirius have proposed new rules to allow for local content, the NAB said.

Aftermarket XM radios are available now in San Diego and Dallas-Fort Worth, and they will be rolled out throughout the Southwest in mid-October and across the country in November. Delphi-Delco models will be available in November in Cadillac Sevilles and Devilles.