US wants more concessions in Sirius-XM deal

A US legislator is awaiting a response from regulators on his recommendation to impose more conditions on the acquisition of XM Satellite Radio Holdings by rival Sirius Satellite Radio.

An Associated Press report also quoted Rep. Edward Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat who leads the House Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the internet, saying that the combination of the only two providers of satellite radio demands 'extraordinary conditions' to protect the public's interest.

The FCC's vote on the acquisition, expected soon, is the deal's last regulatory hurdle.

'Without meaningful, enforceable conditions this proposed merger should be blocked as inconsistent with the public interest,' Markey wrote to the FCC's Kevin Martin.

Markey wants the FCC to ensure that new satellite radio receivers process high-definition radio signals and that the combined companies freeze their prices for six years and set aside more channels for noncommercial use, the Associated Press report also said.

Martin had proposed approving the deal as long as new radio receivers can get Sirius and XM, prices are capped for three years and 12 channels are set aside for noncommercial and minority programming.

Markey believes over time Sirius and XM will cease to be commercial-free. That change will hurt free, over-the-air radio stations as it did cable television, he said.

By making sure the two companies sell receivers that can get free radio, the FCC will preserve competition in the marketplace to the benefit of consumers, Markey wrote.

An XM spokesman said the company has no comment on Markey's letter.

Sirius did not immediately return a call for comment.

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