Thursday, November 30, 2006

WCS Coalition Protests Sirius' Emergency STA to Operate 11 Repeaters

No surprise here. The WCS Coalition objected to the emergency special temporary authority requested by Sirius to bring the 11 "illegal" repeaters that it shutdown back on line in their latest Ex Parte filing to the FCC. It is not the first object that they have filed. Originally, they filed a complaint conceding that the FCC would likely act before they had an opportunity to file. The FCC did not.

They concede that Sirius and XM have blanket authority to add repeaters below 2,000 Watt EIRP. However, they object to any repeaters above the 2,000 Watt limit.

The Coalition does not accept Sirius' ascertion that the violations were minor, noting the the repeater location in Detroit was off by 67 miles (should have been in Lansing). They also complain about beamwidth, which was apparently confused by journalist as bandwidth earlier.

The FCC has not indicated that they will act on XM's or Sirius' emergency requests any time soon to bring the repeaters that shutdown back on line.

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Monday, November 27, 2006

Exemption to Prohibition on Circumvention of Copyright Protection Systems for Access Control Technologies

Today, November 27, 2006, the Copyright Office issued its final rules on the Exemption to Prohibition on Circumvention of Copyright Protection Systems for Access Control Technologies. The six exemptions are listed as follows:

(1) Audiovisual works included in the educational library of a college or university’s film or media studies department, when circumvention is accomplished for the purpose of making compilations of portions of those works for educational use in the classroom by media studies or film professors.

(2) Computer programs and video games distributed in formats that have become obsolete and which require the original media or hardware as a condition of access, when circumvention is accomplished for the purpose of preservation or archival reproduction of published digital works by a library or archive. A format shall be considered obsolete if the machine or system necessary to render perceptible a work stored in that format is no longer manufactured or is no longer reasonably available in the commercial marketplace.

(3) Computer programs protected by dongles that prevent access due to malfunction or damage and which are obsolete. A dongle shall be considered obsolete if it is no longer manufactured or if a replacement or repair is no longer reasonably available in the commercial marketplace.

(4) Literary works distributed in ebook format when all existing ebook editions of the work (including digital text editions made available by authorized entities) contain access controls that prevent the enabling either of the book’s read–aloud function or of screen readers that render the text into a specialized format.

(5) Computer programs in the form of firmware that enable wireless telephone handsets to connect to a wireless telephone communication network, when circumvention is accomplished for the sole purpose of lawfully connecting to a wireless telephone communication network.

(6) Sound recordings, and audiovisual works associated with those sound recordings, distributed in compact disc format and protected by technological protection measures that control access to lawfully purchased works and create or exploit security flaws or vulnerabilities that compromise the security of personal computers, when circumvention is accomplished solely for the purpose of good faith testing, investigating, or correcting such security flaws or vulnerabilities.


Noticeably absent is the ability to circumvent the copyright protection to space shift, backup, and for fair use.

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Sunday, November 26, 2006

Sirius' Aggressive Guidance

Sirius confirmed guidance of 6.3 Million subscriber during the last conference call. It is an aggressive target, especially in light of the reductions in guidance that XM has made. Satellite Radio TechWorld examines here what Sirius has to do to make it. According to our calculations, Sirius will have to net 1,180,692 subscribers for the quarter. So, how many gross subscribers will they have to add this quarter? As the chart below indicates, churn is inexorable. There are actions that can be taken to trim churn, but it is relentless part of the growth cycle. The chart below shows Sirius' churn over the last several quarters, along with a trend line into the fourth quarter 2006. The fourth quarter projection suggest a churn in order of 370,000, nearly triple of what it was last year.


























In order for Sirius to hit its target, it will need on the order of 1,550,692 gross subscribers. In fourth quarter 2005, Sirius added 1,266,674 gross subscribers; therefore, Sirius needs to add about 284,000 more gross subscribers this quarter than when Stern was coming on board.

The chart below represents the year over year growth in the net subscribers. Projecting into the fourth quarter, one might conclude that the growth would be flat to negative. In the fourth quarter 2005, Sirius netted 1,142,640 subscribers. If growth is flat, it will be very, very close. If it is negative, Sirius won't make it.























Without any major drivers out there, it might be worth comparing the percent increase in growth that XM experienced last year between the third quarter and fourth quarter. XM had a hefty 37.7% increase in gross subscribers. We could call this the holiday effect. If this percentage was now applied to Sirius, Sirius might expect 1,008,523 gross subscribers this quarter. To hit 1,550,692 would require a 112% increase over last quarter. Sirius did better than that last year, but that was with Stern coming on board. Sirius is doing all the right things to attract subscribers. They are leveraging off their NFL deal, there is cheap hardware available, they are pushing the family plan, the internet plan, and they are marketing extensively. It sounds a lot like XM last year.

It is going to be a challenge to meet the numbers. First indications are the the Big Box sales are not that spectacular in this holiday season, and Sirius needs a spectacular quarter. Perhaps we will see even more aggressive marketing.

Alternative views are welcome.

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Thursday, November 23, 2006

OT: USC School of Journalism and Mass Communication

Satellite Radio TechWorld stumbled across this coursework from the University of South Carolina School of Journalism and Mass Communication. The course is called Creative Strategy in Advertising. The course is about creating an ad campaign for a client who is looking for a new agency. Two of the "clients" include XM and Honda. Zero points for mis-spelling the client's name. Sounds like an interesting course. One has to wonder if Parsons had anything to do with it. He received his masters from USC. Any USC students out there taking the course that could offer an update?

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XM Wins One in Arbitration

On September 14, 2006, XM sought relief from National Arbitration Forum to prevent Kyle Kennedy from using domain names that could be confused with XM. In fact, he tried to sell the domain name "xmstations.com" to XM for $175,000 to $200,000, plus a one to two year subscription to satellite radio. The lengths people go to listen to satellite radio ...lol. He threw in other domain names as "perks". The decision, issued on November 07, 2006, was a clear victory for XM.

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OT: Apple Corners the Podcast Market

Apple had three patent applications disclosed, no less, concerning podcasts. It seems they are staking out their territory here:

United States Patent Application 20060265637
Kind Code A1

Marriott; Greg ; et al.

November 23, 2006

Utilization of podcasts on portable media devices

Abstract
Improved techniques to facilitate use of podcasts on a portable media device are disclosed. A podcast to be played can be located on the portable media device and then played for the benefit of a user. According to one aspect, a podcast can be located on the portable media device using hierarchical menus. According to another aspect, metadata for a podcast can be displayed while the podcast is being played. The metadata can be changed in response to user input or can be dynamically changed without user input.

Inventors: Marriott; Greg; (Palo Alto, CA) ; Boettcher; Jesse; (San Jose, CA) ; Atwell; Richard; (Cupertino, CA) ; Heller; David; (San Jose, CA) ; Jawa; Amandeep; (San Francisco, CA)

Correspondence Name and Address:
BEYER WEAVER & THOMAS, LLP
P.O. BOX 70250
OAKLAND
CA
94612-0250
US

Assignee Name and Adress:
Apple Computer, Inc.
Serial No.:
166333
Series Code: 11
Filed: June 25, 2005
U.S. Current Class: 715/500.1
U.S. Class at Publication:715/500.1
Intern'l Class: G06F 17/00 20060101 G06F017/00; G06F 15/00 20060101 G06F015/00; G06F 17/21 20060101 G06F017/21

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


United States Patent Application 20060265503
Kind Code A1

Jones; Anne ; et al.

November 23, 2006

Techniques and systems for supporting podcasting

Abstract
Improved podcasts and techniques that facilitate their use are disclosed. The improved techniques can pertain to creating, publishing, hosting, accessing, subscribing, managing, transferring, and/or playing podcasts. According to one aspect, a client application can subscribe to podcasts and then automatically monitor the podcasts for updates to be downloaded. In the event that user interest in a podcast becomes inadequate, downloading of further updates can be restricted. According to another aspect, a podcast can be subscribed to through use of a portable subscription file. According to still another aspect, podcast feeds can be enhanced to include segment elements and other metadata.

Inventors: Jones; Anne; (Emerald Hills, CA) ; Dowdy; Thomas; (Sunnyvale, CA) ; Robbin; Jeffrey; (Los Altos, CA) ; Wiese; Mike; (Cupertino, CA) ; Davis; Stephen; (Los Gatos, CA)
Correspondence Name and Address:
BEYER WEAVER & THOMAS, LLP
P.O. BOX 70250
OAKLAND
CA
94612-0250
US

Assignee Name and Adress:
Apple Computer, Inc.

Serial No.: 166331
Series Code: 11
Filed: June 25, 2005
U.S. Current Class: 709/227
U.S. Class at Publication: 709/227
Intern'l Class: G06F 15/16 20060101 G06F015/16

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

United States Patent Application 20060265409
Kind Code A1

Neumann; David Lawrence ; et al.

November 23, 2006

Acquisition, management and synchronization of podcasts

Abstract
Improved techniques that facilitate use of podcasts are disclosed. The improved techniques can pertain to creating, publishing, hosting, accessing, subscribing, managing, transferring, and/or playing podcasts. According to one aspect, a client application can facilitate discovery of a podcast of interest from a plurality of podcasts, subscribe to the podcast of interest, and provide subsequent management of the podcast of interest. The management of the podcast of interest can include acquiring updated podcast data with little or no user interaction required. According to another aspect, some or all podcasts locally available to a client application can be copied (e.g., synchronized) with a portable media device so that the podcasts can be conveniently available and played by either the client application or the portable media device.

Inventors:
Neumann; David Lawrence; (Portland, OR) ; Verosub; Ellis M.; (San Francisco, CA) ; Mirrashidi; Payam; (San Francisco, CA) ; Milller; Mark; (Hermosa Beach, CA) ; Leffert; Jonathan; Mountain View, CA)

Correspondence Name and Address:
BEYER WEAVER & THOMAS, LLP
P.O. BOX 70250
OAKLAND
CA
94612-0250
US

Assignee Name and Adress:
Apple Computer, Inc.

Serial No.: 166332
Series Code: 11
Filed: June 25, 2005
U.S. Current Class: 707/100
U.S. Class at Publication: 707/100
Intern'l Class: G06F 7/00 20060101 G06F007/00; G06F 17/00 20060101 G06F017/00

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Agere Patent Application to Reduce Power Consumption for Satellite Radios

On Thursday, November 23, 2006, Agere had a patent application disclosed for a satellite radio that uses a single front end, rather that the traditional dual front end analog amplifiers. The advantages are lower power consumption and less cost to build.


United States Patent Application 20060264191
Kind Code A1

Lai; Yhean-Sen

November 23, 2006

Single path front end with digital AGC in SDARS system

Abstract
A method and apparatus for automatically controlling the gain of a digital radio receiving circuit in which a single set of analogue amplifiers is used as the front end to feed two separate digital back-end, demodulating circuits, and in which, for optimal performance, each of the two digital demodulating circuits require the front end analogue amplifiers to operate over a significantly different dynamic range. An automatic-gain-control selector selects one of two automatic-gain control signals to set the gain of the analogue amplifier. In addition, the automatic-gain-control selector sets a compensatory gain of a digital automatic gain control in the back-end circuit not selected, so that the unselected demodulating circuit has substantially the same input signal as if it had been selected. In this way, both demodulating circuits can process the input signal as if they were in control of the analogue amplifier.

Inventors: Lai; Yhean-Sen; (Warren, NJ)

Correspondence Name and Address:
SYNNESTVEDT & LECHNER LLP-AGERE
1101 MARKET STREET
SUITE 2600
PHILADELPHIA
PA
19107-2950
US

Assignee Name and Adress:
Agere Systems Inc.AllentownPA
Serial No.: 133538
Series Code: 11
Filed: May 20, 2005
U.S. Current Class: 455/127.2; 455/127.1
U.S. Class at Publication: 455/127.2; 455/127.1
Intern'l Class: H04Q 7/20 20060101 H04Q007/20


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Wednesday, November 22, 2006

WCS Coalition Rips the FCC a New One

The WCS Coalition ripped the FCC a new one today in its complaint about Sirius' repeater replacement at the Stardust Hotel in Las Vegas. They felt that the FCC was obliged to put the application on public notice. Instead, the FCC rightfully granted the request in only 8 days. They admonished the FCC, citing several references.

[soapbox]How unreasonable can one get? For goodness sakes, they are tearing down the hotel. Is it so unreasonable that the FCC gave them an instant 30 day grant to move the repeater elsewhere? And, it is still on a non-interference basis. But there's no worry about that because the WCS licenses holders haven't built any thing out there to interfere with. Give it a rest, will ya! If this doesn't prove that they aren't anything more that a bunch of whiners, nothing does.

The FCC should do themselves a favor and deny their extension so that they don't have to put up with this anymore.[/soapbox]

Sorry.

Anyway, they make it clear that they intend to vigorously oppose the 180 day request that was filed simultaneously with the 30 day request. The 180 day request was issued a public notice.

Satellite Radio TechWorld has numerous objections to the WCS Coalition's letter to the FCC. First, they keep calling it a new repeater. It is a replacement repeater. They think that if they call it a new repeater often enough, the FCC will believe it.

Secondly, they think that such a request should be put out for public notice for everyone to comment. It is a replacement repeater, similar to the one already operation. The building is set to be destroyed. They have to have it out of there by December 15. Sirius doesn't have 6 months to debate this. If ever there was a need for an instant STA, this is it.

Thirdly, they think Sirius should justify why it can't do it with low power repeaters. Again, it's a replacement repeater. Why should they have to jump through hoops? The FCC has already approved the operation of this high power repeater. They do get one thing wrong about the repeater. The call it a 4,4000 Watt EIRP. Actually, the replacement repeater will operate with two sectors at 4,400 Watt EIRP each, replacing the single sector 8,800 Watt EIRP.

They state that Sirius should have known about this since the beginning of the year and there was plenty of time to have a public debate and that it is Sirius' fault for waiting until the "11th hour". Again, it is a replacement repeater. Who would have ever thought that it was such a big deal. That is precisely the way the FCC saw it.

They also object to it on a technicality that Sirius didn't specify average or peak power. Again, it's a replacement repeater. As Satellite Radio TechWorld understands it, it is still peak power. When XM tried to acquire WCS Wireless, they attempted to have it changed to average power. The FCC never ruled on it. However, they use Sirius' objection to the XM/WCS Wireless acquisition against it, saying that Sirius is operating, in some instances, at five times the levels it objected to for the operation WCS power levels.

Earlier, Sirius proposed rulemaking that would grandfather in the current satellite radio repeaters. They used this letter to rail against that as well, saying Sirius seeks to eliminate the on non-interference clause. If they ever want to see permanent rules, they will have to compromise somewhere. Satellite Radio is here to stay, more that we can say for any thing that the WCS license holders have in operation.

The WCS Coalition does make one very interesting statement: "Sirius provides the Commission with no explanation whatsoever as to why it cannot replace the existing facility with one or more repeaters operating below 2,000 watts peak EIRP, which it is free to do under its current STA without further Commission approval." The last phase is how Satellite Radio TechWorld interprets it. Basically, XM and Sirius have carte blanche to install repeaters under 2,000 Watt. So, why all the big deal with the XM repeaters under 2,000 Watt?

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Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Volatility

Here's a look at the 100 Day historical volatility for Sirius and XM over the last year. Historical Volatility (HV) is a statistical measure of share price fluctuation. A high HV indicates a higher probability of price swings. It say nothing about the direction of the price swings.

From the chart below, one can see that the volatility of the two satcasters was in the same range for the first part of the year, both gently increasing. Then, around the end of July, the two started to separate, with XM becoming far more volatile and Sirius becoming decreasingly volatile.
















This is in sharp contrast to the previous year (see chart below), where Sirius started out much more volatile than XM until about mid-year, when they both starting trending downward. Towards the end of 2005, the volatility leveled out and then started a gentle trend upward for 2006.

What does it all mean? It means that XM is becoming more speculative and that one might anticipate greater price swings relative to Sirius--up or down. Sirius, OTOH, is becoming more range bound.

The 100 day HV is over a relatively long span, but one sees a similar pattern in the 30 HV. XM is trading in the low to mid 70's, while Sirius is trading in the mid to upper 30's.

There is definitely and unmistakingly a separation developing between the two. Even though XM has appreciated more that Sirius in recent times, it would be wrong to conclude from the volatility that this trend with continue. Remember, volatility says nothing about the direction. Quite the contrary. A stock that rises or declines at a steady rate with have a low HV.

The higher volatility for XM is more like the Chinese curse, "May you live an interesting life."



















The website iVolatility has charts for both XM and Sirius that show the Historical Volatility (HV) and the Implied Volatility (IV). The IV is extrapolated from the prices that traders are willing to pay for options. It is a measure of the perceived volatility of a share price, whereas the HV is the actual volatility of the share price. The HV is a measure of the past; the IV is the present perception.

XM's HV is currently trading significantly above its IV. It could means that options are selling too cheap or that the market expects XM to become less volatile in the future. The 10 day HV suggest that the latter might be what's happening. In the case for XM, the HV and IV tend to cross ever so often.

For Sirius, its HV is below its IV. That's the case most of the time with Sirius. Options generally trade at a premium. It is probably related to the number of shares available and the low price of the shares which might lead to exuberance. It is still a measure of how the market perceives the volatility of the share price and could also mean that the market expects to see more fluctuation is the share price than it is currently exhibiting.

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Saturday, November 18, 2006

Sirius Denied Status as a Pre-Existing Subscription Service

When the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) was enacted in 1998 to establish a market-based standard for setting royalty rates, pre-existing subscription services were exempted. Specifically, there were three such services exempted: DMX operated by TCI Music; Music Choice operated by Digital Cable Radio Associates, and the DiSH Network operated by Muzak.

Being designated as a pre-existing subscription service "means that licensees operating under the statutory license as preexisting subscription services have the right to operate under terms and rates that were first set by a Copyright Arbitration Royalty Panel (CARP)6 in May of 1998, and readjusted in July of 2003,7 in accordance with the § 801(b)(1) standard." Thus, it is advantageous to achieve this designation. It also means that they can offer their services in a new medium under the same conditions. The following citation describes the benefits:

Thus, it is clear why a service would seek to be classified as a preexisting subscription service for purposes of §114. A designation as a preexisting subscription service means that the service will pay royalty fees that are set according to a standard that may result in below market rates and it has the added benefit that the service can make its offerings of subscription transmissions in a new medium without losing the its status as a preexisting service. The legislative history construing the statutory framework that provides for these services also makes clear that these benefits are limited to only a handful of services that were in operation on July 31, 1998.10

The two pre-existing satellite services are also exempted, another benefit of XM and Sirius over potential competitors (there are two other entities eligible to hold a satellite radio license).

The issue rises from the bundling of satellite radio programming with cable and satellite TV packages. Sirius' argument is that they are providing their programming via the DiSH network in the same matter as Muzak; therefore, they should be considered pre-existing subscription service. They further argue that SoundExchange acquiesced by accepting royalty payments since 2004 under the conditions of a pre-existing service. Otherwise, since there is no fee structure for audio subscription services bundled with cable and satellite TV, they would not have been obliged to pay anything.

SoundExchange, the RIAA, more or less, disagreed with Sirius' position and on January 04, 2006, it filed a motion requesting the Copyright Royalty Board refer to the matter to the Register of Copyrights in order to establish the status of ancillary music services offered by both Sirius and XM. On September 2006, the Copyright Royalty Board acted on this request. On October 20, 2006, the Register issued a Memorandum Opinion to the Board. The opinion was recorded in the Federal Register on November 03, 2006.

The Conclusion is cited below:

Conclusion. The Copyright Royalty Board referred a novel question of law to the Register which asked: “Is the universe of preexisting subscription services, [as defined by §114(j)(11)], limited by law to only Muzak (provided over the DiSH Network), Music Choice, and DMX?” Before answering this question, the Office contemplated what Congress meant by the term “preexisting subscription service,” because there was a controversy over whether the term applied to the use of the sound recording, or the business entity that operated under the §114 statutory license. Ultimately, the Office discerned that the term is used in the statute in both manners. A preexisting subscription service is used in §114 sometimes to refer to the aggregate of the subscription transmissions that were made by the entities identified in the legislative history, and sometimes to identify the business entities operating under the statutory license on or before July 31, 1998, and that have the authority to negotiate rates and terms for use of the license. Whether Congress intended this outcome is unclear, but the Office’s interpretation offers a workable reading of the statute and the legislative intent.

Nevertheless, for purposes of the question posed by the Board, the determination that the term refers to the business entities in existence and making subscription transmissions on or before July 31,1998, appears to be the more appropriate reading of the term “preexisting subscription service” for purposes of determining whether an entity can operate under the statutory license as a preexisting subscription service and participate in the rate setting process. Moreover, in light of Congress’s decision to identify specific entities as being preexisting subscription services, it appears Congress meant to limit preexisting subscription service status to the three entities identified by the Board.


In reaching their conclusion, the Register stated the following:

Moreover, to allow Sirius to step into the shoes of Muzak and offer the same type of subscription transmissions is inconsistent with a narrow construction of the grandfather provision. As stated earlier, the purpose of the grandfather provision was to prevent the disruption of existing operations which, in this case, was the offering of music channels supplied by Muzak. Muzak was the pioneer music service that incurred both the benefits and risks that came with its investment, and one such benefit was its status as a preexisting subscription service so long as it provided its music offerings over the DiSH Network. Sirius, however, cannot assume the benefits of the preexisting subscription service designation when it did not offer a subscription service during the industry’s nascent years.

Score another one for the RIAA. The decision affects both Sirius and XM. It is difficult to disagree with the Register of Copyrights on this one.

What does it all mean? Is Sirius (and XM) liable for additional royalties for the satellite radio programming on cable and satellite TV? Will this mean that satellite radio programming will disappear from the DiSH network and DirecTV? Satellite Radio TechWorld can't answer those questions. The providers were recently denied the opportunity to provide their programming on satellite TV in Canada.

Followup (November 19, 2006):

Some of you may remember the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) announcement for "Digital Performance Right in Sound Recordings and Ephemeral Recordings for a New Subscription Service" brought to light by Orbitcast on December 07, 2007 (first appearing on IP-Updates) in an article entitled
XM + DirecTV: Digital Performace License Proceedings. This announcement was in response to XM's Petition to establish royalty rates for a "new type of subscription service", filed on October 31, 2005. The CRB framed the background as follows:

Background

On October 31, 2005, the Copyright Royalty Board (“Board”) from XM Satellite Radio, Inc. (“XM”), a Petition to Initiate and Schedule Proceeding for a New Type of Subscription Service pursuant to 17 U.S.C. 114(f)(2)(C). As characterized in the Petition, “This new type of subscription service performs sound recordings on digital audio channels programmed by the licensee for transmission by a satellite television distribution service to its residential customers, where the audio channels are bundled with television channels as part of a `basic' package of service and not for a separate fee.” XM Petition at 1. As explained in the Petition, commencing on or about November 15, 2005, DirecTV, Inc., (“DirecTV”), a provider of television service to residential consumers by satellite, would begin to include a number of music and non-music audio channels, supplied by XM in its program lineup. The XM channels will be “a part of the DirecTV basic package of service, without requiring payment of a separate subscription fee.” XM Petition at 2. This new service would utilize the statutory copyright licenses provided in 17 U.S.C. 114(d)(2) (for performance by means of subscription digital audio transmission) and 17 U.S.C. 112(e) (for ephemeral recordings solely for use in those transmissions). This Notice is issued, pursuant to 17 U.S.C. 804(b)(3)(C)(ii), to initiate the proceeding to determine the rates and terms for those licenses.


Wading through all of this, it seems to amount to the same thing that Sirius was trying to do--to have the royalty rates negotiated under the copyright arbitration royalty panel (Carp). Sirius tried to obtain the status and the associated benefits by claiming an exemption via the DiSH Network, essentially sliding in the shoes of Muzak. XM appears to be trying another route. It is unclear if the above option impacts the petition by XM. It would appear that the CRB has accepted XM's petition and has commenced the royalty rate negotiations. The above opinion appears to have stop short of SoundExchange's request to establish the status of the satellite radio ancillary music services. The opinion seemed to simply deny Sirius the status as a pre-existing subscription service. One would think that the rates negotiated under the XM petition would apply to both XM and Sirius.

Perhaps some of you legal scholars could explain this better.

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Friday, November 17, 2006

Sirius' Recent International Bureau Applications

Today, Sirius was granted emergency authority today to relocate its repeater at the Stardust Hotel due to the destruction of that hotel. In addition, the longer term, 180 day authority, application was put out for public notice. This is the next step before consideration for approval.

Sirius was also granted the authority to operate a low power repeater and signal boosters at trade shows for the month of December. The longer term application to operate these for the first six months of the year was put out for public notice.

The recent application to operate repeaters in Alaska and Hawaii is still in limbo.



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Thursday, November 16, 2006

WCS Coalition Meets with FCC Once Again

Yesterday, November 15, 2006, the WCS Coalition met with the FCC once again to press upon the agency the urgency in granting the WCS license holders an extension to the build out date. Without the extension, they risk losing the band of frequencies on either side of the satellite radio band. They appear to be meeting with the FCC more frequently in an attempt to encourage the FCC to grant the extension.

Both XM and Sirius naturally oppose the extension. They could use these frequencies to expand their services. This band of frequencies has laid fallow for nearly ten years. If only the FCC would grant the extension, according the the WCS Coalition, they would be able to create a viable service. They haven't used it in the last ten years. There is no evidence they would use it with an extension. It has been a total waste. Just imagine the benefit to the public if the satcasters were given this spectrum.

Satellite Radio TechWorld once again urges the FCC to deny the WCS license holders the extension and to tell them to "Use It or Lose It".

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Wednesday, November 15, 2006

XM Applies for STA to Operater Repeater at PGA Events

On November 14, 2006, XM applied for a routine 180 day special temporary authority to operate one repeater at the PGA Tour weekly events.

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Sunday, November 12, 2006

Please Support This Site

Satellite Radio TechWorld would like to welcome two new supporters of this site: TSS Radio and The Radio Place. While you are shopping for satellite radio receivers or accessories this holiday season, please stop by and check these guys out. Even if you are not in the market for a receiver, why not stop by and see what they have anyway.

For your Sirius needs, stop by and see the great selection of Sirius radios at TSS Radio.

For XM, The Radio Place is the place. They have everything you could possibly need.

Not in the need for a satellite radio? Why not consider a donation. It's easy with PayPal Donate:





Thank you for your support!

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Thursday, November 09, 2006

Bushnell Recognized for XM-Ready Weather Tracker GPS

On October 12, 2006, Satellite Radio TechWorld alerted its readers to a patent application for GPS/XM WX combo. It was unclear at first on whose behalf the patent application was filed. After much research and as unlikely as it seemed at the time, Satellite Radio TechWorld concluded that Bushnell was behind the patent application. Today, Orbitcast published an article about XM winning three CES 2007 awards for innovation. There among them was an XM-Ready Bushnell Weather Tracker GPS, further confirmation that Bushnell was behind the patent application and has now entered the GPS business. You heard it here first.

It's a powerful idea having weather data tied to location in a portable, handheld device. Imagine having your personal weather forecast at your fingertips, whether on the golf course or on the hiking trail. You know where the lighting strikes are happening or how long you have before a storm comes. Who needs the weather channel on TV any more. Sounds like a great product. Can't wait to see it.

Read XM Awarded Three 2007 CES Innovations Awards at Orbitcast

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IBM Patent Application Implementing Satellite Radio for Receiving Data

On November 09, 2006, IBM had a patent application disclosed that proposes to use satellite radio as part of a web access system to download data to a lap top device. A wireless laptop makes a request for data that is passed through a cellular device, which relays the request to a cell tower. The request is relayed to a base station, where the data is processed. Once the data is processed, it is uplinked to a satellite radio satellite. The data is beamed to the laptop by the satellite. Below is a couple of interesting passages. IBM makes the case for the satellite radio transmission, but they never describe it in great detail:

[0004] As will be described hereinafter, the present invention makes use of satellite radio technology for receiving broadcasts to compensate for these shortcomings of celllular telephony in receiving high speed data. Satellite radio receiving technology has been developing over the past decade until the present when hand held receivers are mass marketed for broadcasts from two private communication satellite systems owned by SiriusRadio and XMRadio. These portable receivers would be readily integratable into the mobile wireless receiving computers, as will hereinafter be described with respect to the present invention.

[0005] However, at this point, some background information on satellite radio receivers is appropriate. The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has allocated a spectrum in the "S" band (2.3 GHz) for Nationwide U.S. broadcasting of satellite based Digital Audio Radio Service (DARS). XM Satellite radio, for example, uses two satellites placed in parallel geostationary orbit, which is about 22,223 miles above Earth, and is the type of orbit most commonly used for communications satellites. There is a radio uplink to these two GEO satellites from a ground radio station which then bounce the signals down to the receivers on the ground. In urban areas where buildings can block out the satellite, the system may be supplemented by supporting ground transmitters. Each receiver contains appropriate hardware and software for decoding received coded/secure broadcasts. The portable satellite radio receivers have been reduced in size until they presently use antennae the size of cellular telephone antennae.



United States Patent Application 20060251003
Kind Code A1
Dietz; Timothy Alan ; et al. November 9, 2006

Wireless telecommunications system for accessing information from the world wide web by mobile wireless computers through a combination of cellular telecommunications and satellite broadcasting

Abstract

A hybrid cellular telephonic and satellite radio broadcast system for enabling a wireless mobile computer to rapidly and effectively access information from the Web. The combination of a mobile wireless receiving computer, with wireless cellular telecommunication associated with the receiving computer for transmitting a request for data from the receiving computer to the Web, an implementation for accessing the requested data from the Web, a satellite transponder, wireless communication for transmitting said accessed requested data to the satellite transponder, an implementation on the satellite transponder for broadcasting the accessed requested data and apparatus in the mobile wireless receiving computer for receiving the broadcast data.


Inventors: Dietz; Timothy Alan; (Austin, TX) ; Spielberg; Anthony Cappa; (Austin, TX)
Correspondence Name and Address:
    IBM CORPORATION
PO BOX 12195
DEPT YXSA, BLDG 002
RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK
NC
27709
US
Serial No.: 122743
Series Code: 11
Filed: May 5, 2005

U.S. Current Class: 370/316
U.S. Class at Publication: 370/316
Intern'l Class: H04B 7/185 20060101 H04B007/185


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Delphi Patent Application for Satellite Radio and Video

On November 09, 2006, Delphi had a patent application published for a vehicle entertainment system primarily for satellite radio and video:

[0014] The satellite audio and video signals, A, V, received by the vehicular entertainment module 10, 100, 200 may be broadcast in any desirable band, such as, for example, the 2320-2345 MHz frequency band, which is the SDARS band. Accordingly, the satellite audio signals, A, may include any desirable programming, such as music, talk radio, and the like. User interface information associated with the satellite audio signals, A, such as station numbers, artist name, and the like is typically transmitted with the satellite audio signal, A, for representation on a user interface screen. The satellite video signals, V, may include any desirable video information, such as television programming, movies, video games, navigation information (e.g., maps), graphical representations (e.g., stock information), and the like. The satellite video signals, V, may be received by the receiver 22 and decoded by the audio and video data decoder 24 for output over the video screen 28, or, alternatively, the satellite video signals, V, may be downloaded into the hard drive/memory 32 for decoding and output at a desired time.


United States Patent Application 20060253878
Kind Code A1
Davis; J. Roger ; et al. November 9, 2006

Vehicular entertainment module

Abstract

A vehicular entertainment module is disclosed. The vehicular entertainment module includes a video screen, speakers/headphones, an audio/video input device, and a satellite antenna and receiver. The audio/video input device processes media input by a user. The satellite antenna and receiver receives satellite audio signals and satellite video signals for decoding by an audio and video data decoder. The video screen and speakers/headphones provide video and audio output from the the audio/video input device or the received satellite audio signals and satellite video signals.


Inventors: Davis; J. Roger; (Russiaville, IN) ; Dockemeyer; J. Robert JR.; (Kokomo, IN) ; Dyson; William E.; (Carmel, IN) ; Long; Jerral A.; (Kokomo, IN) ; Borders; Douglas G.; (Kokomo, IN)
Correspondence Name and Address:
    DELPHI TECHNOLOGIES, INC.
M/C 480-410-202
PO BOX 5052
TROY
MI
48007
US
Serial No.: 125060
Series Code: 11
Filed: May 9, 2005

U.S. Current Class: 725/75; 725/77
U.S. Class at Publication: 725/075; 725/077
Intern'l Class: H04N 7/18 20060101 H04N007/18



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Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Update to the 3Q2006 Charts

Here's an update to the 3Q06 charts published last Monday.

The chart below shows the raw numbers. As suggested Monday, the gap in the gross subs widened once again. The gap for 3Q06 is wider than anticipated. It is imperative that Sirius reverse this trend, if they are to meet the year end guidance. If the trends continue, and that's a big IF, then we could see XM become the net leader as well as the gross in two or three quarters.
























On a percentage basis, the widening gap in the gross is more dramatic.

























Sirius has shown that it has a few tricks up its sleeve. Perhaps there is a pent up demand in Hawaii and Alaska. Hey, every few subs count. They are pushing hard with the trade shows in December as well as in the first and second quarter next year. Pushing the internet radio along with Stern could bring in a number of subs. In addition, it appears that Chrysler is ramping up. IIRC, Sirius generally gets a bump in OEM additions in 4Q. And they have also been pushing the family plan. Karmazin has set an ambitious goal, but one way or the other, I suspect he will meet the goal.

Sirius also goes into the fourth quarter with a more complete line of radios. The only worry here is the reception of the FM modulated signal. We have seen the radios certified and re-certified and re-certified again. Whether this is just US versus Canadian versions or whether they are trying to resolve the reception issue is anyone's guess. XM has been taking it to Sirius with its Sure Connect system. Sirius has countered with similar technology, but apparently, XM thinks it has the better solution. If you are an XM iRep, you can take the training on the Sure Connect technology. If not, you can click the link to the left and sign up. It's free.

There are a number of radios that have been recently certified. It is imperative that both companies bring these to market in quantities as soon as possible. Sirius needs to attain better stock of the Stiletto; however, this probably won't be a main contributor until the price drops.


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Sirius Files Application for 180 Day Authorities to Operate Repeaters at Trade Shows

On November 07, 2006, Sirius filed an application for special temporary authority to operate a low power, 200 Watt repeater, and two signal boosters at trade shows between December 31, 2006 and June 29, 2007.

Sirius intends to demonstrate its services at the following locations:

New York Boat Show - December 29, 2006 to January 07, 2007
CES 2007 in Las Vegas - January 07-11, 2007
Detroit/NAIAS Auto Show 2007 - January 06-21, 2007
Chicago Auto Show 2007 - February 06-18, 2007
Miami Boat Show 2007 - February 14-19, 2007
MERA 2007 in Knoxville - March 16-20, 2007
Mid-Atlantic Truck Show 2007 in Louisville - March 21-24, 2007
New York Auto Show 2007 - April 03-15, 2007

Looks like Sirius is taking its show on the road. Its good to see that they will make the CES in 2007. They must have something they want to show off.

Update: The request was granted on December 19, 2006.

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Sirius Files Application to Operate Temporary Repeaters at Trade Shows in December

On November 07, 2006, Sirius filed an application for temporary authority to operate low power repeaters at tradeshows during the month of December. The application is for one 200 Watt repeater and two 0.0001 Watt signal boosters.

Sirius plans to demonstrate its services at the Los Angeles Auto Show 2006, which takes place between December 1-10, 2006, and at the New York Boat Show, which takes place between December 29, 2006 and January 07, 2007.

Could any of this be a demonstration of video services? Probably not. We shall see.

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Sirius Files Applications to Relocate the Terrestiral Repeater at the Stardust Hotel and Casino.

Today, November 08, 2006, Sirius filed four applications requesting to relocate the repeater at the Stardust Hotel and Casino that is about to be destroyed. Two of the applications were withdrawn, probably due to some minor error. The two remaining are for a thirty day emergency authority to relocate the repeater. The other is a typical 18o day special temporary authority to relocate the repeater. Here is the description:

Sirius Satellite Radio requests modification of its Special Temporary Authority to relocate one of its terrestrial repeaters in Las Vegas, NV due to the destruction of the Stardust Hotel and Casino, and to operate the repeater at the new location for 180 days.

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Breaking News: Sirius Files Application to Operate Repeaters in Alaska and Hawaii

On November 07, 2006, Sirius filed an application to operate 3 repeaters in Alaska and 1 repeater in Hawaii. This is the first time that a US satellite radio provider has gone beyond the CONUS and Canada. Don't see why they haven't done this before. There will be no satellite coverage of these areas beyond what Alaska might receive today.

Stay tuned. Sirius filed 7 applications today with the international bureau. Two were withdraw; four more to go.

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Wistron Neweb Receives Re-Certification on Stratus Receiver

On November 08, 2006, Wistron Neweb received re-certification on its Stratus receiver, now incorporating the FM extender (aka remote radiator). See the manual here.

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Wistron Neweb Receives Certification on Vehicle Docking Station

Today, Wednesday, November 08, 2006, Wistron Neweb received certification on its vehicle docking station for the Stiletto. See the in vehicle photos here. It is interesting that they chose a Hyundai and a Honda to test the FM remote radiator. They are old cars--probably employees' vehicles.

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Tuesday, November 07, 2006

WCS Replies to Sirius' Proposals for Rule Making Regarding Satellite Radio Repeaters

On November 07, 2006, the WCS Coalition filed a preliminary reply to Sirius' proposal regarding satellite radio repeaters and the coexistence of satellite radio and the WCS license holders. The reply is very conciliatory, and while they embrace the principles of Sirius' proposal, they did raise objections to Sirius' proposal to grandfather in the present satellite radio and WCS transmitters. They feel that these repeaters should continue to operate on a non-interference basis.

Sounds like the WCS Coalition is now prepared to work with the satellite radio providers.

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Wistron Neweb Receives Certification on the StarMate 4

On Tuesday, November 07, 2006, Wistron Neweb received certification on the new Sirius StarMate 4 receiver. It comes with both an internal and external FM antenna. Either one or the other is used at any given time.

It also uses the common docking unit. See the manual here.

The external FM antenna is described as piece of coax at least 15" long with the braid stripped away and a ferrite bead on the end. I'm still surprised that the FCC finds this arrangement acceptable, since it appears to still use a standard plug. The picture below shows the external antenna.














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Monday, November 06, 2006

A Preliminary Look at the Third Quarter Numbers

Here's a preliminary look at the 3Q06 subscription numbers for XM and Sirius. We will have a clearer picture after Wednesday, when Sirius releases the final figures for the quarter. First, let's look at the raw numbers. We already know that Sirius will add more net subscribers. However, it one looks at the trend, it is a certainty that XM will add a greater number of gross subscribers. In fact, we can probably say the the gap that nearly closed in 1Q06 and started to widen in 2Q06 will continue to grow into 3Q06. The closure of this gap in 2Q05 and 1Q06 was no doubt the Stern Effect. The Stern Effect started to wane in 2Q06 and continues in 3Q06. Going back to the net, we can see that the gap in the net is starting to close as churn for Sirius due to its recent growth and to its OEM promotional subscriptions is starting to kick in.
























Looking at it on a percentage basis, the Stern Effect is quite obvious. Also obvious is that XM is starting to pull away in gross subscription additions. Although Sirius is well ahead on the percentage of net additions, the growth in the percentage is nearly flat for the quarter. With the divergence in the gross numbers, one might conclude that the trend in the net might start reversing in the coming quarters.
























The fourth quarter will tell the tale. For Sirius, the catalyst is the Stern Effect 2 along with internet subscriptions. The catalyst for XM will be the Oprah Effect. Perhaps we will also see an O&A Effect with all the exposure they have received in recent months. Another big advantage for XM is the family plan. If one takes the family subscriptions out of the retail numbers, the net retail additions for XM would have been negative for the quarter. With the recent solicitations, Sirius apparently now grasps the importance of the family plan subscriptions.

At this point in time, I would have to give XM the edge in brand name awareness going into the fourth quarter. Sirius, of course, this has their big weapon, which they have yet to fully exploit. It's not the same XM going into the fourth quarter. Sirius had better be prepared to bring out the big guns.

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Saturday, November 04, 2006

Part 15 Low Power Communication Device Transmitters

Satellite Radio TechWorld has compiled a list of every Part 15 Low Power Communication Device Transmitter operating in the FM band and certified since January 01, 2002. This includes all the satellite radios that use FM modulators. The list includes the responsible applicant, their address, and the FCC ID of each device, as well as the links to the associated documentation. Now that the FCC has finished with Satellite Radio, in all fairness, the FCC should now scrutinize each and every one of these other devices to ensure that they are not interfering with the FM reception by other motorists.

Satellite Radio TechWorld respectfully requests the FCC to investigate every device on this list.



Note: If you downloaded the file before 17:20 on November 05, 2006, there was a problem with the links caused by the sorting of the entries.

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Canadians Denied Satellite Radio via Satellite TV

On Friday, November 03, 2006, the CRTC ruled that satellite radio could not be distributed by direct-to-home distributors. In other words, Canadians will not receive satellite radio as part of their satellite TV package. In their decision, they wrote:

In this decision, the Commission finds that satellite subscription radio (SSR) undertakings are not programming undertakings and that the licensees of direct-to-home broadcasting distribution undertakings, in the absence of a specific condition of licence allowing such distribution, do not have authority under section 39 of the Broadcasting Distribution Regulations to distribute the programming of SSR undertakings.

It was the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) that opposed the distribution by satellite TV. The CBC is a partner of Sirius Canada. The central question was whether satellite radio was a programming undertaking or a broadcasting distribution undertaking. The CRTC ruled the latter. The government at work.

Also, the Globe and Mail has an interesting article on the decision. They also point out that Rogers has applied to carry satellite radio on its digital cable channels. Videotron has also applied.

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Friday, November 03, 2006

WCS Coalition Meets with the FCC

On November 02, 2006, the law firm of Wilkinson, Barker, and Knauer representing the WCS Coalition had a telephone conference with the Wireless Telecommunication Bureau of the FCC to discuss the urgency of granting the extension to the build-out for the WCS license holders. If the extension is not granted, the license holders risk losing their licenses in the 2.3 GHZ band. The WCS spectrum is on either side of the Satcaster's spectrum. Both Sirius and XM oppose the extension for obvious reasons.

They noted that licencees had already started spending "significant sums" of money in order to be able to comply with the buildout date. If forced to meet the deadline, they will have to deploy sub-optimal systems. They contend that if the extension is granted, license holder will be able to deploy systems that will make better use of the spectrum. They want to tie the extension to final rules regarding the satellite radio repeaters, so they say. They have yet to reply to recent proposals by Sirius and XM or to show any interest in resolving the issue. One gets the impression that they really aren't serious about resolving the issue but find it useful to make this argument in order to convince the FCC to grant the extension. The issue has been before the FCC since this past March. If the FCC does not rule in their favor, expect full scale panic in the next few month.

Once again, Satellite Radio TechWorld urges the FCC to tell them, "Use It or Lose It".



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Sportster 3 and Sportster 4 Both Receive Yet Another Re-Certification


Today, November 03, 2006, Ki Ryung received yet another re-certification on the Sportster 3 and the Sportster 4. They had previously been re-certified on October 20 and October 11, respectively.

The only difference noted so far is the addition of what appears to be an FM loop antenna. Previously, they appeared to have eliminated the loop antenna. Perhaps they found that reception was inadequate without it. We will find out soon enough.



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Thursday, November 02, 2006

Delphi Satellite Radio Antenna Patent Application

Delphi had a patent application published on November 02,2006, for a satellite radio antenna.

United States Patent Application 20060244667
Kind Code A1

Thompson; Loren M. ; et al.

November 2, 2006

Satellite antenna

Abstract
An antenna structure and assembly is disclosed. The antenna structure includes a case that provides a capacitive coupling between a ground plane and a circuit board assembly that includes a low noise amplifier and satellite antenna. The case includes a metal impregnated thermoplastic resin. The ground plane may include at least one resilient fastener receiving portion that permits passage and frictional retention of at least one integrated fastening portion extending from the case. The antenna structure includes a cover portion placed over and ultrasonically welded to the case for encapsulating the circuit board assembly. A method for manufacturing the antenna structure is also disclosed.

Inventors:
Thompson; Loren M.; (Lapeer, MI) ; Scott; Stephen D.; (Fenton, MI) ; Yegin; Korkut; (Grand Blanc, MI) ; Livengood; William R.; (Grand Blanc, MI)

Correspondence Name and Address:
DELPHI TECHNOLOGIES, INC.
M/C 480-410-202
PO BOX 5052
TROY
MI
48007
US
Serial No.:
116528
Series Code:
11
Filed:
April 28, 2005
U.S. Current Class:
343/713; 343/700MS
U.S. Class at Publication:
343/713; 343/700.0MS
Intern'l Class:
H01Q 1/32 20060101 H01Q001/32

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GM's Satellite radio based vehicle positioning system

GM had a patent application published on November 02, 2006, for a Satellite Radio Based Vehicle Positioning System.

United States Patent Application 20060247856
Kind Code A1

Lobaza; Anthony Gerard ; et al.

November 2, 2006

Satellite radio based vehicle positioning system

Abstract
A vehicle positioning system architecture according to the invention employs a satellite radio system ("SRS") to deliver global positioning system ("GPS") correction data to vehicles. A vehicle having a compatible onboard positioning system receives standard GPS data from GPS satellites, along with SRS signals from SRS satellites and/or SRS terrestrial repeaters. The onboard vehicle positioning system corrects the GPS data with GPS correction data received via the SRS signals.

Inventors:
Lobaza; Anthony Gerard; (Bloomfield Hills, MI) ; Fillwock; Brian W.; (Chesterfield Township, MI)

Correspondence Name and Address:
GENERAL MOTORS CORPORATION;LEGAL STAFF
MAIL CODE 482-C23-B21
P O BOX 300
DETROIT
MI
48265-3000
US
Serial No.:
117931
Series Code:
11
Filed:
April 29, 2005
U.S. Current Class:
701/213; 701/216
U.S. Class at Publication:
701/213; 701/216
Intern'l Class:
G01C 21/00 20060101 G01C021/00

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FCC Issues Public Notice on the Recent Satellite Radio STAs

The FCC issued a public notice on the Special Temporary Authorities (STAs) requested by Sirius and XM for their respective repeater networks.

I am no authority here, but what I think this means is that each interested party will have an opportunity to make their case to the FCC without the others being present. However, the contents of any meetings or communications with the FCC must be made public. If someone could offer further explanation, it would be greatly appreciated.

In essence, it sounds like it will be a long, drawn out process.

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