Wednesday, December 26, 2007

New ICO Having a COW

This is a followup to the post on Orbitcast about New ICO. ICO satellite services, one of the parent companies of New ICO, was granted an experimental license to demo the potential of its ATC (Ancillary Terrestrial Component) capabilities at the January 7-11, 2008 Consumer Electronics Show. Essentially, this is the repeater system it intends to deploy with its satellite services. It should be noted that New ICO has neither a satellite in operation nor an ATC network. It intends to use "cellsite-on-wheels (COW) to simulate a terrestrial repeater site at locations around the site of the Convention Center and other CES venues." From its press release, New ICO states that it will launch its satellite in March. This is likely news to the FCC. New ICO has delayed the launch numerous times; however, it is indeed close to being able to launch. Previously, New ICO was granted another extension to launch by November 30, 2007 and to have the satellite in operation by the end of the year (December 31, 2007). That's not going to happen. On August 06, 2007, New ICO filed an application with the FCC for yet another extension to launch by January 15, 2008 and be in operation by February 15, 2008. It has already submitted a letter to the FCC as part of that application stated that launch will likely be delayed a few weeks beyond January 15, 2008. In light of this further delay, New ICO requested that the FCC extend the comment date until October 15, 2007. New ICO is already beyond the November 30, 2007 launch date as authorized by the FCC. The International Bureau has not granted any further extensions to date. The status is "Accepted for filing".

No one has opposed the current extension request; however, Inmarsat Global vehemently opposed the previous extension and filed a Petition to Deny. In its petition, Inmarsat painstakingly details the troubled history of New ICO and its repeated delays. Inmarsat will likely bring this up once again.

On November 30, 2007, New ICO filed for authority to operate its ATC. To date, the application has not even been accepted for filing, hence the experimental license to use COWs to demonstrate its ATC services. In an experimental application granted by the FCC, New ICO states that the ATC (repeater) deployment will begin no later than early 2009.

New ICO may ultimately be competition for satellite radio, but will likely be well into 2008 at the earliest and probably won't be until well into 2009.
It is not a sure thing that New ICO will ever get its satellite off the ground. At some point, the Commission has got to say, "enough is enough".

ICO does have one medium earth orbit (MEO) satellite in operation. It is a leftover from its early plans to launch a constellation of these satellites. It launched two. One launched failed to put the satellite in the proper orbit. Today, one operational satellite in not in use, as we understand it; however, ICO still has plans to use it as part of an MSS system in Europe. Presently, ICO is battling the EU over the MSS band. ICO has over $4 billion invested in its effort to bring MSS into operation. They have struggled and likely will continue to struggle. TerraStar is the only MSS competitor in the US. It has been very supportive of New ICO's effort to bring its system online.

ICO to demo live Satellite Video at CES [Orbitcast]

Further Reading:

ICO Wants Its Mobile TV - via DVB-SH [Daily Wireless]

DVB-Scene

Update: After a little more research, it was discovered that New ICO had applied to extend the launch date until April 15, 2008 and the operational date until May 15, 2008. That is more consistent with its press release indicating a launch in March. The extra 15 days allows some uncertainty in the launch date. This application, filed in early November, 2007, has been accepted for filing but New ICO has not been granted authority to extend the launch milestone. New ICO is likely concerned that neither this application to extend the launch date nor the previous one file in August has been granted. However, no entity has opposed the extension.

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Sunday, December 23, 2007

iBiquity (HD Radio) Would Like to Impose Conditions

iBiquity Digital Corporation met with the FCC on December 19, 2007, to discuss the merger of XM and Sirius. Although iBiquity does not take a position on the merger, it is concerned that the combined entity will hinder its ability to introduce HD Radio in the marketplace. It is concerned over the exclusive arrangements that XM and Sirius have with the automobile manufacturers. It says XM and Sirius may have used subsidies and incentives with the OEMs to discourage the proliferation of HD Radio. A merged entity will have a "stronger economic position and more cash to fund subsidies and incentives".

As a remedy to the merger, iBiquity recommends that the Commission imposed the following two conditions:

1. Require that HD Radio be included in all satellite radio receivers.

2. Require tha tthe merged entity terminate all exclusive agreeements and to prohibit all such agreements with suppliers, retailers, and the OEMs.

iBiquity has generously agreed to license it patents on reasonable and nondiscriminatory terms and to make its technology available for inclusion in dual use receivers.

Satellite radio paid a small fortune to have the OEMs include satellite radio in automobiles. iBiquity appears to want a free ride. It would seem to be unfair to make this a requirement for satellite radio and would undermine satellite radio.

The satellite radio providers might welcome the second requirement.

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Friday, December 21, 2007

Sirius Requests Experimental License to Test in WCS Bands

Now Sirius is requesting an experimental license to operate equipment in the WCS bands in order to research the impact of WCS transmission on satellite radio. The request is in response to the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and the Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in the Docket pertaining the repeaters for satellite radio (95-91). Sirius is requesting expedited approval in light of the short commenting period.

Upon approval, Sirius intends to test at the six sites listed below:

1. Sirius Satellite Radio Facility, 989 Lenox Drive, Lawrenceville, NJ, 08648
o 40-17-17.0 N, 74-42-33.5 W (10 km radius)

2. Prospertown Lake, Rt. 537, Ocean County, NJ
o 40-8-6.7 N, 74-27-30.0 W

3. Manasquan Reservoir, Windeler Road, Howell, NJ
o 40-10-16.6 N, 74-12-10.2 W

4. XM Satellite Radio Facility, 3161 SW 10th St, Deerfield Beach, FL 33442
o 26-18-15.2 N, 80-8-47.6 W (5 km radius)

5. 24 Vernon Crossing Road, Vernon, NJ
o 74-29-37.2W, 41-12-46.7N

6. Highway US441, Palm Beach County, FL (10 km radius)
o 26-42-36.0 N, 80-25-12.0 W

Frequency Bands: 2305-2320 MHz: 2345-2360 MHz

Tests will be conducted in 5 MHz channels of the WCS A, B, C and D blocks

Each test channel is 5 MHz wide. Specifically the channelization is:

A: 2305-2310 MHz, 2350-2355 MHz
B: 2310-2315 MHz, 2355-2360 MHz
C: 2315-2320 MHz
D: 2345-2350 MHz

In case any of you missed it, you can find the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and the Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking here.

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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

OT: Microwaving Oranges

We came across this interesting experimental application the other day. Raytheon and Paramount Citrus are teaming together to test Raytheon's Tempwave™ frost protection system for citrus crops. The system is intended to prevent freeze damage to crops by delivering low intensity microwave heating to make up any net heat lost during a freeze event. Paramount Citrus will provide the test crop and power for at its location in Vasaila, CA.

Raytheon intends to market its system for the 2008-2009 season. It occurred to Raytheon last month that it needed to prove the system this season before marketing it next season.

The test setup is described as follows:

The test setup will consist of 4 towers at the corners of a 30 meter x 30 meter area within the orchard. Each tower is 10 meters tall and will have 4 identical transmitter/antenna combinations at the top. (There will be a total of 16 identical antennas/transmitters.) See figure 1 attached. The antennas are arranged, and the antenna patterns designed to uniformly illuminate the orchard and supply energy lost by the crop. The system should deliver energy directly to the crop during a freeze.

Our research shows that the crop needs small but steady energy input during a frost night. An analysis predicts an RF power density of 1.8 mW/cm2 at the tree tops within the test area. Tests inside a shielded will be performed assess various parameters of the equipment/configuration in preparation of the outdoor field test.

If successful, it could be good news to the citrus farmers.

Test will be conducted between January 10, 2008 and April 30, 2008. It should be far away enough in frequency (2.45 GHz) to not interfere with satellite radio.

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Copyright Judges Publish Determination of Rates and Terms Document

In their determination of rates and terms for royalty rates to be paid by satellite radio, the Copyright Judges go into detail of how their predecessor (CARP) determined the rates versus how they approached it. The document goes into the gory detailed of the various proposals and why they were not appropriate before determining that the best approach for approximately usage was revenue based, rather than a "per play" as proposed by Satellite Radio or the "per broadcast/per subscriber" as proposed by SoundExchange.

It is a very enlightening and fascinating read into the process used by the judges as well as the history behind the determination of rates. It is well worth the read. There are many nuggets of information to be garnered such as the following:

For example, EBITDA profitability for Sirius is estimated by Mr. Karmazin to be consistent with revenues generated from between 10 million and 11 million subscribers. 6/7/07 Tr. 35 (Karmazin). Increasing the current royalty rates to 13% will increase costs and raise the necessary critical mass of subscribers sufficient to generate revenues that can yield EBITDA profitability or even positive free cash flow.

We suggest that you download the following document and sit down for a nice long read:

Determination of Rates and Terms for Preexisting Satellite Digital Audio Radio Services

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Monday, December 17, 2007

Comcast Seeks Experimental License to Test WiMax

Back in April, Satellite Radio TechWorld reported that Horizon Wi-Com had filed for an experimental license to test WiMax equipment operating outside of the approved operating range and near the satellite radio band. XM and Sirius expressed their concerns over this testing. This application is still pending.

Today, Comcast WCS filed a similar application to test mobile and fixed equipment in the A, B, and C blocks of the wcs spectrum in Muncie, Indiana. These blocks are are either side of the satellite radio band. This worldwide "standard production equipment" for WiMax is not approved for the wcs band by the FCC and may exceed the limits imposed on the wcs band during normal operation.

Comcast seeks to test the equipment up to 2,000 W EiRP average. The wcs band is currently limited to peak power. Readers may recall how the WCS Coalition vehemently opposed any satellite radio reader operating at over 2,000 W EiRP peak. Satellite radio won that battle at least until final rules regarding repeaters are established.

Emphasis will be on not interfering with satellite radio. Testing will seek to determine to maximum operating range that will not interfere with satellite radio.

No doubt this testing needs to be done, but not in a vacuum. It needs to be closely coordinated with the satellite radio providers. Look for XM and Sirius to express concern over this application as well.

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Friday, December 14, 2007

XM to Locate Employees in Vienna

In an application filed by XM today, XM is requesting special temporary authority to operate a very low powered repeater in a building at 2650 Park Tower Drive, Vienna, Virginia. In the application, XM describes the building as a "large one". XM employees will occupy two floors and part of a third floor. "Many employees that XM intends to locate at the 2650 Building are part of XM's Listener Care team, who will be directly involved in the resolution of subscriber complaints." They, of course, will need access to a high quality signal at their desks. That is the purpose of this request.

It is an interesting application for two reasons. It sounds like they will be locating a fairly large number of employees there. Only "many", not all, are part of the Listener Care team. Some Something's up here. We need to find what else is located in this building to know the whole picture.

The second aspect of it is the XM is apparently trying to take greater control over the Li sterner Care group. Anybody that has ever contacted XM's Li sterner Cares knows that it can use some improvement, and that is an understatement. This is a welcomed change.

Update December 23, 2007: The WCS Coalition has objected to this application of a low powered repeater. It seems that the Coalition is back to its old tricks of making it as difficult as possible to carry on business for the satellite radio providers. Ostensibly, the Coalition objects to the application because XM is not clear how the repeater will work, saying that it fears XM will employ a new type of repeater that will amplify and rebroadcast the WCS signals, which could cause oscillations.

XM describes the repeater as a new, very low powered repeater. Rather than receiving its signal from a terrestrial repeater, this mini-repeater will receive its signal directly from an XM satellite. This mini-repeater would not radiate at all. It would transmit its signal via a coax cable to one or more very low powered, omni-directional repeaters (not exceeding 0.5 Watt, presumably located within the building). XM states that it will operate within its own band. The only WCS operator in the area is Horizon Wi-Com. Readers may recall that XM and Sirius objected to testing by Horizon Wi-Com of WCS equipment that operates outside of the approved operating parameters for the WCS band. Perhaps there is a connection.

The Coalition has all the technical specifications on the operation of the amplifier and is being disingenous, in our humble opinion, with its objections. The repeater clearly operates within the approved operating parameters. Perhaps the Coalition has reverted to such tactics as a bargaining chip in current rulemaking on satellite radio repeaters and the coexistence of satellite radio and the WCS licensees.

Update January 08, 2008: After XM modified its application to include more detail, the WCS Coalition conditionally withdrew its objections.

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Snapster Saga Over--Rasprodz Prevails

An anonymous tipster tipped us off today that Napster, in a surprise move, withdrew its opposition to the Snapster trademark application filed by Rasprodz. The US Trademark Office has yet to accept officially accept it, but there is no reason to believe that it won't.

No reason was given by Napster. It simply said:

Napster, LLC by and through their attorneys, hereby stipulates that the above-identified opposition proceeding be dismissed. December 4, 2007

Quite possibly the two parties reached an agreement or perhaps Napster simply gave up or thought they could not win it. It appeared to us that Napster had the better argument.

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Sirius Receives Grant to Operate Repeater at Yamaha Dealer Event

Sirius received a grant from the FCC to operate a low powered repeater (200W) and two signal boosters at the Yamaha Dealer Event at the upcoming Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. Sirius will conduct equipment and service demonstrations at the CES between January 05-10, 2008.


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Rego, the Radio that Just Won't Die

The Rego, a Sirius Satellite radio and MP3 player by US Electronics (USE), was revived for the third time recently when US Trademark Office breathed life once again into USE's trademark application. Readers my recall that USE is in a pitched battle with XM and Sirius over the merger after USE lost its court case against Sirius. It is unlikely that we will ever see the Rego as a satellite radio, unless USE receives concessions as part of the merger.

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Sirius Submits Application for 15 New Repeater

Sirius applies to install yet 15 more repeaters, all of them 2,000 Watt EiRP average. Sirius shouldn't have any problems getting approval, so if you live in any of the areas below, Merry Christmas:

3420 Ellicott Center Drive,
Ellicott City, MD 21043

1603 Orrington Ave.
Evanston, IL

1710 Cleneay Avenue,
Cincinnati, OH 45212

1115 Old Dixie Hwy, West
Palm Beach, FL 33403

60-52 Madison Street,
Queens, NY 11385

24 River Rd., Bogota,
NJ 07603

201 Willowbrook Blvd,
Wayne, NJ 07470

5627 Germantown Avenue,
Philadelphia, PA 19144

811 East Cayuga Street,
Philadelphia, PA 19124

3331 Bristol Pike,
Bensalem, PA 19020

5831 Rosebud,
Sacramento, CA 95841

8780 Jackson Road,
Sacramento, CA 95826

3425 51st Avenue,
Sacramento, CA 95823

5321 1st Street NE,
Washington, DC 20011

9701 Fields Road,
Gaithersburg, MD 20878

Check out the link for topographical and aerial views of the repeater locations as well as the GPS coordinates.

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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The King Makes His Mark


It's official. Howard Stern is the King of All Media. He received the trademark registration Tuesday, 13 November. The news is a little dated due to very limited access in the land of pork and potatoes. It's good to be back home for the holidays, but soon I go back again.

The image to the side shows the first use of the "King of All Media".

Mark Image
Word Mark KING OF ALL MEDIA
Goods and Services IC 041. US 100 101 107. G & S: Entertainment services, namely, live performances and an on-going radio, satellite, and television broadcast program, all by a radio, satellite radio and television personality featuring humorous observations of the human condition. FIRST USE: 19940000. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19940000
Standard Characters Claimed
Mark Drawing Code (4) STANDARD CHARACTER MARK
Serial Number 78970100
Filing Date September 8, 2006
Current Filing Basis 1A
Original Filing Basis 1A
Published for Opposition August 28, 2007
Registration Number 3335302
Registration Date November 13, 2007
Owner (REGISTRANT) Stern, Howard INDIVIDUAL UNITED STATES c/o One Twelve Inc. 600 Madison Avenue New York NEW YORK 10022
Attorney of Record Michael A. Cornman
Type of Mark SERVICE MARK
Register PRINCIPAL
Live/Dead Indicator LIVE


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Friday, November 09, 2007

Royalty Rates Proposed for New Subscription Service

Today, the Copyright Royal Board (CRB) published its royalty rate proposal for a new subscription service. How does this concern satellite radio, you ask? It affects it directly. These are the royalty rates for satellite radio on satellite TV. The proposed rates are given below:

§ 383.3 Royalty fees for public
performances of sound recordings and the
making of ephemeral recordings.
(a) Royalty rates. Royalty rates for the
public performance of sound recordings
by eligible digital transmissions made
over a Service pursuant to 17 U.S.C.
114, and for ephemeral recordings of
sound recordings made pursuant to 17
U.S.C. 112 to facilitate such
transmissions, are as follows. Each
Licensee will pay, with respect to
content covered by the License that is
provided via the Service of each such
Licensee:
(1) For Stand-Alone Contracts, the
greater of:
(i) 15% of Revenue, or
(ii) The following monthly minimum
payment per Subscriber to the Service of
such Licensee—
(A) From inception through 2006:
$0.0075
(B) 2007: $0.0075
(C) 2008: $0.0075
(D) 2009: $0.0125
(E) 2010: $0.0150 and
(2) For Bundled Contracts, the greater
of:
(i) 15% of Revenue allocated to reflect
the objective value of the Licensee’s
Service, or
(ii) The following monthly minimum
payment per Subscriber to the Service of
such Licensee:
(A) From inception through 2006:
$0.0220
(B) 2007: $0.0220
(C) 2008: $0.0220
(D) 2009: $0.0220
(E) 2010: $0.0250
(b) Minimum fee. Each Licensee will
pay an annual, non-refundable
minimum fee of one hundred thousand
dollars ($100,000), payable on January
31 of each calendar year in which the
Service is provided pursuant to the
section 112 and 114 statutory licenses,
but payable pursuant to the applicable
regulations for all years 2007 and
earlier. Such fee shall be recoupable and
credited against royalties due in the
calendar year in which it is paid.

§ 383.4 Terms for making payment of
royalty fees.
(a) Subject to the provisions of this
section, terms governing timing and due
dates of royalty payments, late fees,
statements of account, audit and
verification of royalty payments and
distributions, cost of audit and
verification, record retention
requirements, treatment of Licensees’
confidential information, distribution of
royalties, unclaimed funds, designation
and definition of the collection and
distribution organization, and any
definitions for applicable terms not
defined herein and not otherwise
inapplicable shall be those adopted by
the Copyright Royalty Judges for
subscription transmissions and the
reproduction of ephemeral recordings
by preexisting satellite digital audio
radio services in Docket No. 2006–1
CRB DSTRA (‘‘the SDARS Proceeding’’).
(b) Without prejudice to any
applicable notice and recordkeeping
provisions, statements of account shall
not require reports of performances.
(c) If the Copyright Royalty Judges
adopt reports of use regulations in the
SDARS Proceeding, those regulations, if
any, shall govern Licensees’ obligations
to report sound recordings used
pursuant to this part, except that
Licensees also shall report to
SoundExchange which channels are
transmitted by their respective
Providers for all past, current and future
periods. In the event that the Copyright
Royalty Judges do not adopt reports of
use regulations in the SDARS
Proceeding, then reports of use provided
by XM Satellite Radio Inc. (‘‘XM’’) and
Sirius Satellite Radio Inc. (‘‘Sirius’’) for
their use of sound recordings on their
preexisting satellite digital audio radio
services (as defined in 17 U.S.C.
114(j)(10)) shall be deemed to satisfy
XM’s and Sirius’ obligations to report
sound recordings used pursuant to this
part, and MTV Networks shall provide
census reporting, retroactive to the
inception of its Service.
Dated: November 6, 2007.
James Scott Sledge,
Chief Copyright Royalty Judge.
[FR Doc. E7–22044 Filed 11–8–07; 8:45 am]

On a separate note, those you who haven't read the Billboard interview with Chief CRB Judge James Sledge, you can read it here. It is an interesting read.



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Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Random Comments on the Recent FCC Document Request

There have been a lot of comments by analysts over the recent document request by the FCC. Some say it means that a decision by the FCC is close at hand. Others say it means that a decision won't be rendered anytime soon. In the context of recent headlines, we don't see how any analyst could conclude that a decision is close at hand. Without the recent headlines, close might mean 3 months. However, the headlines seem to indicate that a DOJ decision could be rendered this week. So, it that context, "close" means to us this week or next. That isn't going to happen. We do believe the Commission is "close" to beginning its determination but it is a long way from being finished.

The FCC already has most of this information at its disposal. However, the FCC is a ubiquitous organization. It could be that those making the decisions don't have the information ready at their disposal; i.e., they can't find it. Plus, the same information has already been provided to the DOJ, so it is probably less of a burden just to ask the satcasters for the information. We were amazed at the brevity of the merger application in light of the application of the DirecTV/EchoStar application. The XM and Sirius have been accused of trying to exempt themselves from the conventional merger analysis. Their application seems to reflect this. Most all of this information should have been included in the original application. In our opinion, the request is just the FCC attempt to acquire all the information it needs to perform a conventional merger analysis. It is a lot of information to process. First the FCC must digest the material, analyze it against the horizontal merger guidelines, generate its determination, fact check, review, spell check, and perform the final review, or something along those lines. If the FCC has already digested the filed comments and has already started forming an opinion, we don't see a determination is less than 3 months. If not, it might be more like six months. It certainly is not a matter of weeks.

For those that favor the merger, it does bode well in the sense that FCC is not summarily rejecting it; however, it means nothing in how it might ultimately rule. It gives hope; that's about it, in our humble opinion.

One question conspicuous by its absence is anything on satellite weather. This is an area of a clear monopoly should the merger be approved. The FCC obviously is not concerned about it, so this is a positive for those favoring the merger.

The detailed request for the number of FM and AM stations in each census block and in each zip code leads one to believe that the FCC is considering terrestrial radio as competition. If so, this would be a major victory for the pro merger camp.

There are lots and lots of questions on interoperable radios. Interoperable radios were a major theme throughout the comment period. The failure of XM and Sirius to comply with the interoperable mandate could be an issue with the FCC. The toughest questions are about interoperable radios. The FCC isn't leaving any wiggle room. It is about time, in our opinion, to resolve this issue.

The technical details for the repeaters is a bit puzzling. The FCC doesn't seem to be focusing on violations that many of the merger opponents have disparaged the satcasters about. That's a positive for the merger camp, but we never thought it would get any play. It's just the technical details the Commission seeks. Maybe the FCC is attempting to determine how one system might be adapted to another. The details would seem to have little bearing on the merger. The receiver details are applicable with respect to interoperability. The step to migrate all of XM's subscribers to a common platform is a very telling request. The FCC is at least entertaining the idea of whether or not a single platform is feasible. If so, then this could imply the possible lost of the XM or Sirius frequency band.

The FCC is certainly not taking the public benefit claims at face value. It is digging into the details. XM and Sirius will have to prove their claims. This is likely the meat of the request. If it is not a public benefit, the merger will not be approved. There in no focus on minority programming. It doesn't appear that this will be an issue. The recent opportunism by Georgetown Partners would likely get much play, in our opinion.

In the final analysis, we see it neither as positive nor negative. However, it seems to indication that the final determination by the FCC is months away.

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XM Document Request

Below is the text of the FCC request from XM for additional information. We thought it might be useful to have the text version available to make it easier to cut and paste. We apologize in advance for the formatting. We will work on it as we have time.

Information and Document Request for XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc.

INFORMATION AND DOCUMENT REQUEST FOR XM SATELLITE RADIO HOLDINGS INC.

November 2, 2007

Corporate Documents and Other Agreements:

A. Provide any and all agreements and like documents relating to the Transaction, including, but not limited to, the Merger Agreement and any and all attachments, appendices, side or separate letter agreements and like documents by and between the Applicants.

B. Provide any documents relating to:

(1) agreements with major retailers, including, but not limited to, Wal-Mart, Best Buy and Circuit City, relating to the marketing and sale of XM radio receivers and related equipment (including FM wireless transmitter modulators), including commissions, advertising credits, subsidies, co-share advertising arrangements and the provision of complimentary XM service subscriptions to equipment purchasers;

(2) agreements with aftermarket equipment manufacturers or distributors, including, but not limited to, Audiovox, Delphi, Pioneer, AGT, Alpine, Sony, Polk and eton/Grundig, relating to the manufacture, distribution and/or marketing of XM radio receivers and/or related equipment (including FM wireless transmitter modulators), including commissions, advertising credits, subsidies, co-share advertising arrangements and the provision of complimentary XM service subscriptions to equipment purchasers;

(3) programming agreements relating to specialized channels, including sports and entertainment programming, including, but not limited to, Major League Baseball, MLB Home Plate, National Hockey League, the PGA Tour, Andretti Green Racing, Indy Racing League, ESPN Radio, ESPN Sports, Fox News, Fox Sports, CNN and the Food Network;

(4) agreements relating to programming with celebrity talent, including, but not limited to, Oprah Winfrey, Bob Dylan, Snoop Dog, Ludacris, Ellen DeGeneres, Tyra Banks, Bill O’ Reilly, Larry King, Opie and Anthony, and Graham Nash;

(5) agreements with car, truck, boat, recreational vehicle and motorcycle manufacturers relating to the marketing, sale and/or installation of XM equipment and service contracts, including revenue sharing, training for vehicle sales staff, service activation, subsidies, provision of complimentary XM subscriber service to vehicle purchasers and lessees, and other services;

(6) licensing agreements with, including provisions regarding subsidies to, chipset manufacturers relating to chip and other equipment component sales to consumer electronic manufacturers for use with licensed XM radio receivers; Information and Document Request for XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc.

(7) agreements relating to joint operations with Internet Service Providers (e.g., AOL), mobile phone companies, satellite video distributors (e.g., DIRECTV), or other entities regarding the use or distribution of XM-branded programming, including music, talk or sports channels, or other non-XM branded channels (e.g., National Public Radio);

(8) agreements with car, truck, recreational vehicle and motorcycle rental companies, such as Avis, National, Alamo and Zipcar, relating to the provision of XM radios and XM service in rental vehicles, including revenue sharing, training for vehicle rental staff; commissions, advertising credits, subsidies, co-share advertising arrangements and the provision of complementary XM service to vehicle renters;

(9) agreements between XM and Sirius relating to the joint engineering operation for the research and development of interoperable radio receivers; and

(10) agreements between XM and Sirius between 1997 and the present relating to sales, programming, service or equipment.

Data, Studies and Analyses

A. Provide all company-sponsored surveys and studies cited in the Joint Opposition to Petitions to Deny and Reply Comments or otherwise submitted to the Commission by or on behalf of XM, or XM and Sirius, in this proceeding, and any underlying data and analyses.1

B. Provide the following materials, as well as any underlying data or analyses, used in the CRA Economic Analysis of the Competitive Effects of the Sirius-XM Merger:

(1) the number of FM and AM stations reaching each census block in the lower- 48 United States states (“lower-48 states”);

(2) the average number of FM and AM stations reaching each Zip Code Tabulation Area (“ZCTA”) in the lower-48 states;

(3) the number of XM subscribers in each ZCTA in the lower-48 states; and

(4) the cited demographic information for each ZCTA in the lower-48 states.

C. Provide any underlying data and analyses used in the Furchtgott-Roth Economic Enterprises’ study of the Sirius-XM Merger that are not already in the public record.

D. Provide all studies, analyses, evaluations, and strategic discussion materials prepared by or for XM, or XM and Sirius, after January 1, 2005, that are intended to offer guidance on the economic advisability of the proposed merger.

E. Provide all studies, analyses, and evaluations prepared by or for XM of subscriber churn from the automobile and retail sales sectors, respectively, for the period January 2001, to the present.

1 See XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc., Transferor, and Sirius Satellite Radio, Inc., Transferee, Joint Opposition to Petitions to Deny and Reply Comments of Sirius Satellite Radio Inc. and XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc., MB Docket No. 07-57, filed July 24, 2007. Information and Document Request for XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc.

F. Provide all surveys, analyses, and evaluations of listener behavior prepared by or on behalf of XM, including, but not limited to, audience studies (i.e., ratings data, usage, audience demographics, and geographic distribution of audience) for the period January 2001, to the present.

G. Provide all studies, analyses, and evaluations prepared by or on behalf of XM, or XM and Sirius, performed after January 1, 2005, regarding price projections for proposed new programming options and a la carte packages, including information relating to price stability, channels per programming package, and pricing comparisons between the current basic $12.95 package and new programming options on a per-channel basis.

H. Provide the following information on all promotions conducted by XM involving pricing, rebates, coupons, and all other forms of discounts offered to new or existing subscribers (including, but not limited to, discounts on equipment, service activation fees, installation charges, and service fees, such as free or discounted service trial periods), for the period January 1, 2005, to the present:

the name of the promotion;

the beginning date of the promotion;

the ending date of the promotion;

(4) the nature of the promotion (coupons, rebates, promotional pricing, etc.);

the effect of the promotion on prices (e.g., reduced monthly price by $5 per month for three months, two free months of service, $50 rebate on a radio, no activation fee, etc.);

(6) the eligibility and other requirements (e.g., new customers only, minimum subscription periods, purchases from specific retailers or original equipment manufacturers (“OEMs”), or of specific equipment, geographical limitations, etc.); and

(7) the number of subscribers that took advantage of the promotion.

I. For each such promotion described in the response to Question H above, provide copies of all documents supporting the response or otherwise relating to the promotion. Technical Information

A. Provide a list of the XM terrestrial repeaters deployed in each market since January 2001, and, for each such terrestrial repeater, provide the following information:

(1) latitude, longitude, and community;

(2) antenna type;

(3) antenna orientation;

(4) antenna downtilt;

(5) antenna height;

(6) Equivalent Isotropically Radiated Power (“EIRP”);

(7) dates that operation of the facility with those parameters commenced and ended;

(8) description of any technical modification to the facility; and

(9) dates that operation of the modified facility commenced and ended. Information and Document Request for XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc.

B. Provide the methods or technologies of coding, compression, encryption, modulation, signal bandwidth and bit rate for both satellite and terrestrial repeater networks used since January 2001.

C. List all receiver models sold since January 2001 and include all chipsets data including the manufacturer of the chipset used in them. Provide any statistics showing whether these receivers could become interoperable with minor changes in the chipset design or in the software program of these receiver chips.

D. Provide the data sheet of technical characteristics for each chipset used in all receiver models sold since January 2001.

. Provide a description of all efforts to develop and commercialize interoperable satellite radio receivers and any difficulties in such development and commercialization. F. Describe all steps necessary to migrate all of XM’s subscribers to a common technology platform and the cost the company and its customers will incur to implement such a migration.

G. Provide maps, in .gxt format where possible, of the actual or expected geographic coverage area(s) for each of the XM satellites already in orbit or under development, including associated power flux density contours. Describe what factors went into the selection of the geographic coverage areas for the XM satellite networks, as well as any technical, economic, or other considerations that limit the ability of the XM satellite network to serve U.S. states and territories outside the contiguous United States.

IV. Claimed Public Interest Benefits

A. Provide a detailed description of each of the cost savings expected to be realized as a result of the proposed transaction. For each of these anticipated cost savings:

(1) provide a full explanation as to why those cost savings would not be achieved absent the proposed transaction;

(2) provide a quantification of the cost savings and an explanation of how the quantification was calculated, including all assumptions and their sources;

(3) state separately the one-time fixed cost savings, recurring fixed cost savings, and variable cost savings (in dollars per unit and dollars per year); and

(4) provide sufficient supporting evidence to demonstrate that these cost savings will result in cognizable public interest benefits under our merger review standard.

B. Describe any other efficiencies that are expected to occur as a result of the proposed transaction. For each of these other anticipated efficiencies:

(1) provide a full explanation as to why those efficiencies would not be achieved absent the proposed transaction; Information and Document Request for XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc. Page 5 of 12

(2) provide a quantification of the efficiencies and an explanation of how the quantification was calculated, including all assumptions and their sources; and

(3) provide sufficient supporting evidence to demonstrate that these efficiencies will result in cognizable public interest benefits under our merger review standard.

C. With respect to the synergies Applicants expect will materialize and result in more programming choices at lower prices, including claimed benefits from a la carte programming and programming efficiencies: (see Consolidated Application at 9-11, 13, 172; Joint Opposition at 10-14, 19-21):

(1) list each audio and video channel distributed in the United States currently by XM and for each such channel state: (a) whether the content is exclusive to XM; and (b) whether the content is also available on Sirius or over other media, including but not limited to terrestrial broadcast radio, cable television, Internet stream or download/podcast, or HD radio;

(2) for each channel identified in question (1)(a), indicate whether the company has obtained the rights necessary, if any, to distribute the programming by the combined company on an a la carte basis or as part of the “best of” or other proposed programming packages.

(3) with respect to the claim that the “combined company will be able to consolidate redundant programming,” provide a list of channels which are duplicative on XM and Sirius and expected to be consolidated.

(4) explain why the proposed billing credit for subscribers who do not elect adult programming is a merger-specific benefit. In addition, address whether the Company would offer such a credit in the absence of merger approval.

(5) explain what short-term and long-term plans currently exist to “provide increased opportunities for a wider variety of content providers,” to distribute niche programming to a wider audience via the merged entity. Explain why this benefit will only be achieved through the Transaction.

(6) with respect to radio receivers and other equipment needed to access the proposed, new program packages: (a) provide all documents regarding the claim that “subscribers will be able to continue to use their existing radios.” Explain in detail what equipment, including any enhancements or additional devices, will be needed by subscribers to access these packages. Identify Applicants’ plans regarding target dates and the projected costs to subscribers for any enhancements or additional devices;

2 See XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc., Transferor, and Sirius Satellite Radio Inc., Transferee, Consolidated Application for Authority to Transfer Control, filed Mar. 20, 2007. Information and Document Request for XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc. Page 6 of 12 (b) if certain equipment or enhancements will be needed to access certain of these programming packages, but not others, specify the exact equipment and/or enhancements (e.g., chipsets, compression techniques) that will be required to make each of these programming packages available; and

(c) provide all documents regarding the claim that “subscribers will eventually purchase new radios capable of receiving all of the content of both services.” Explain whether all Sirius and XM subscribers – not just subscribers that select a la carte programming – will be required to purchase new radios capable of receiving all of the content of both services.

(7) provide any and all documents that discuss, identify, quantify, or otherwise relate to the anticipated synergies.

D. With respect to Applicants’ claim that the merger will “foster the commercial introduction of interoperable satellite radios” thereby providing greater customer choice and convenience (see Consolidated Application at 15-16):

(1) explain whether Applicants will make commercially available the “radio that is interoperable with each other’s networks” as developed by the jointly funded engineering team and described in the Consolidated Application. If so, explain when this interoperable radio prototype will be commercially available.

(2) if not, explain whether Applicants will make commercially available a different radio prototype capable of receiving Applicants’ combined signals, and when it will be available for commercial distribution.

(3) provide all documents that detail the intermediate steps, internally and with regard to equipment manufacturers, that will occur prior to the commercial availability of radios capable of receiving all of the content of both services.

(4) identify Applicants’ plans and target dates for the commercial distribution of interoperable radios at retail distribution centers and via automobile manufacturers. As part of this response, explain Applicants’ plans for making new receiver equipment or enhancements available to consumers who have existing automobile SDARS receivers.

(5) identify electronics manufacturers who have committed to, or have expressed an interest in, producing Applicants’ interoperable radio;

(6) identify anticipated prices for such equipment;

(7) identify and describe Applicants’ plans to subsidize interoperable radios;

(8) identify OEMs that have committed to installing interoperable radios. (9) provide any and all documents that discuss, identify, quantify, or otherwise relate to the anticipated synergies; and

(10) explain why these claimed benefits will be achieved only through the Transaction.

E. With respect to Applicants’ claim that the merger will accelerate deployment of advanced technology (see Consolidated Application at 14):

(1) identify the “wider range of low cost, easy-to-use, multi-functional devices” that will result from the merger; Information and Document Request for XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc. Page 7 of 12

(2) identify the planned new services, such as advanced data and telematics services, including enhanced traffic, weather and infotainment offerings that will result from the merger;

(3) identify any plans to make available to XM subscribers a service similar to SIRIUS Backseat TV, and when this service will be available to XM subscribers (see Joint Opposition at 22);

(4) explain how the merger will enhance the delivery of emergency services programming and information (see Joint Opposition at 24);

(5) with regard to XM’s services to business/commercial customers: (a) identify services offered by XM and the subscription fees; and (b) identify which services will be available post-merger, their subscription fees, and any distinctions between services currently available; and 6. explain why these claimed benefits will be achieved only through the Transaction;

(7) provide any and all documents that discuss, identify, quantify, or otherwise relate to the anticipated synergies and claims.

F. With respect to Applicants’ claim that the merger will safeguard the future of satellite radio and produce a stronger, more stable competitor in the audio entertainment market (see Consolidated Application at 17-20):

(1) identify whether the merged entity will eliminate any of the satellites currently deployed by Applicants, respectively;

(2) identify whether the merged entity will eliminate any of the repeater networks currently deployed by Applicants, respectively;

(3) identify whether Applicants, absent the merger, will have access to capital markets to sustain continued research, development and technological innovation; and

(4) provide any and all documents that discuss, identify, or otherwise relate to forecasts projecting ahead for periods beyond three years regarding the financial performance of the firm, including but not limited to subscribers, revenues, costs, profits, cash flow, and overall viability of the firm.

G. Describe any other public interest benefits that are expected to occur as a result of the proposed transaction, and provide a full explanation as to why those benefits would not be achieved absent the proposed transaction. Provide documents that serve to provide sufficient support for these benefit claims so that the Commission can verify the likelihood and magnitude of each claimed benefit. Information and Document Request for XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc.



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Monday, November 05, 2007

Georgetown Partners Latest to Lay Claim to Bandwidth

Radio Online featured an article last Friday about the opposition of the merger by Georgetown Partners (GP), unless the deal is re-structured. It is based on a filing by GP to the FCC on October 18, 2007. GP describes itself as "a minority-owned closely-held limited liability corporation that invests in and manages various properties, including those related to communications."

The group is adamantly opposed to the merger, describing it as, "Simply put, the Sirius and XM transaction as presently structured is detrimental to the public on every meaningful front."

Obviously, it is not too opposed to it. As a remedy, GP advocates the sub-leasing of part of the channel capacity to a minority-controlled entity. In an exparte filing today, GP was more specific. It wants at least 20% of the channel capacity set aside for minority programming to ensure competition and diversity in the satellite radio marketplace. Conveniently, GP would be the one to answer the call.

Unlike Primosphere, GP is not legally entitled to be a satcaster. As a consequence, there could be legal issues with this proposal.


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Saturday, November 03, 2007

Breaking News: Royalty Rates Set at 7.25% of Gross Revenues for Preexisting Subscription Services

The Copyright Royalty judges have made their proposal for the royalty rates for preexisting subscriptions services. There are two parts to the recent trial. One is for the royalty rates for pre-existing subscription services (such as Music Choice) and the other is for satellite radio. Music Choice and SoundExchange reached an agreement shortly before the trial ended. If we are interpreting this correctly, this only applies to the agreement reached between Music Choice and SoundExchange and not to satellite radio. However, one might argue that the rates will be similar for satellite radio. It is likely, at least, an upper limit or close to it.

The proposed rate is set at 7.25% of gross revenues. The proposal is now open for public comment until November 30, 2007. If you choose to comment, you must be prepared to participate in future proceedings.

Here is the summary:

37 CFR Part 382 [Docket No. 2006–1 CRB DSTRA] Adjustment of Rates and Terms for Preexisting Subscription and Satellite Digital Audio Radio Services AGENCY: Copyright Royalty Board, Library of Congress.

ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking. SUMMARY: The Copyright Royalty Judges are publishing for comment proposed regulations that set the rates and terms for the use of sound recordings by preexisting subscription services for the period January 1, 2008, through December 31, 2012.

DATES: Comments and objections, if any, are due no later than November 30, 2007.

Below are the relevant details:

§ 382.2 Royalty fees for the digital performance of sound recordings and the making of ephemeral phonorecords by preexisting subscription services.

(a) Commencing January 1, 2008, and continuing through December 31, 2011, a Licensee’s monthly royalty fee for the public performance of sound recordings pursuant to 17 U.S.C. 114(d)(2) and the making of any number of ephemeral phonorecords to facilitate such performances pursuant to 17 U.S.C. 112(e) shall be 7.25% of such Licensee’s monthly gross revenues resulting from residential services in the United States.

(b) Commencing January 1, 2012, and continuing through December 31, 2012, a Licensee’s monthly royalty fee for the public performance of sound recordings pursuant to 17 U.S.C. 114(d)(2) and the making of any number of ephemeral phonorecords to facilitate such performances pursuant to 17 U.S.C. 112(e) shall be 7.5% of such Licensee’s monthly gross revenues resulting from residential services in the United States.

(c) Each Licensee making digital performances of sound recordings pursuant to 17 U.S.C. 114(d)(2) and ephemeral phonorecords pursuant to 17 U.S.C. 112(e) shall make an advance payment of $100,000 per year, payable no later than January 20th of each year. The annual advance payment shall be nonrefundable, but the royalties due and payable for a given year or any month therein under paragraphs (a) and (b) of this section shall be recoupable against the annual advance payment for such year; Provided, however, that any unused annual advance payment for a given year shall not carry over into a subsequent year.

(d) A Licensee shall pay a late fee of 1.5% per month, or the highest lawful rate, whichever is lower, for any payment received after the due date. Late fees shall accrue from the due date until payment is received.

(e)(1) For purposes of this section, gross revenues shall mean all monies derived from the operation of the programming service of the Licensee and shall be comprised of the following:

(i) Monies received by Licensee from Licensee’s carriers and directly from residential U.S. subscribers for Licensee’s programming service;

(ii) Licensee’s advertising revenues (as billed), or other monies received from sponsors, if any, less advertising agency commissions not to exceed 15% of those fees incurred to a recognized advertising agency not owned or controlled by Licensee;

(iii) Monies received for the provision of time on the programming service to any third party;

(iv) Monies received from the sale of time to providers of paid programming such as infomercials;

(v) Where merchandise, service, or anything of value is received by Licensee in lieu of cash consideration for the use of Licensee’s programming service, the fair market value thereof or Licensee’s prevailing published rate, whichever is less;

(vi) Monies or other consideration received by Licensee from Licensee’s carriers, but not including monies received by Licensee’s carriers from others and not accounted for by Licensee’s carriers to Licensee, for the provision of hardware by anyone and used in connection with the programming service;

(vii) Monies or other consideration received for any references to or inclusion of any product or service on the programming service; and (viii) Bad debts recovered regarding paragraphs (e)(1)(i) through (vii) of this section.

(2) Gross revenues shall include such payments as set forth in paragraphs (e)(1)(i) through (viii) of this section to which Licensee is entitled but which are paid to a parent, subsidiary, division, or affiliate of Licensee, in lieu of payment to Licensee but not including payments to Licensee’s carriers for the programming service. Licensee shall be allowed a deduction from ‘‘gross revenues’’ as defined in paragraph (e)(1) of this section for affiliate revenue returned during the reporting period and for bad debts actually written off during reporting period.

(f) During any given payment period, the value of each performance of each digital sound recording shall be the same.

Update
It was called to my attention the the 7.25% rate set for the preexisting subscriptions services is the exact same rate as set by the library of congress in 1998. Perhaps this bodes well for the royalty rates for satellite radio remaining the same.


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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Copyright Royalty Board Decision by December 17

Mel Karmazin, CEO Sirius, said today:

You've heard a little bit about the royalty proceeding and that royalty proceeding covers the period from January 1, 2007 to the end of 2012. The trial associated with that came to a close about two weeks ago and we expect the copyright royalty board judges to reach a decision in mid-December.

As we have been following the development of the Copyright Royalty Board, we can corroborate this statement. Late this morning, we received the following statement in an email from the Copyright Royalty Board:

The Judges will be issuing their determination by no later than December 17, 2007.

So, before Christmas, XM and Sirius will either have their Christmas presents or their lumps or coal.

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Thursday, October 25, 2007

XM and Sirius Oppose NAB's Bid to Stop Clock

In the FCC comments on the merger today, XM and Sirius opposed the NAB's and US Electronics' petition to stop the merger clock (see Orbitcast article NAB wants FCC to stop the clock).

The NAB's motivation is pretty clear; they will do anything to stop the merger. One has to admire the NAB's undying commitment to its members. They are just earning their keep. U.S. Electronic' (USE) motivation is less clear. It has been carrying the ball lately in the effort to derail the merger. USE lost its lawsuit against Sirius. One has to wonder if this is its motivation for playing the spoiler.

Sirius' and XM's arguments are persuasive. One of the NAB's argument to stop the clock is that it has filed for information concerning the FM modulator fiasco under the Freedom of Information Act. The NAB has been unable to obtain the information. XM and Sirius argue that the names of the manufactures and distributors, the names and titles of employees, the recollection of present and past employees, and the responses to the Commission's Letter of Inquiry are irrelevant. We agree. So does the Enforcement Bureau. They make one very good point in a very amusing (perhaps biting is a better word) way:

Instead, NAB claims without a hint of irony that without the unreleased records, which are already in the Commission's possession, the Commission "cannot make an informed decision regarding whether the Applicants can be relied on to keep their promises and comple with any conditions."

They seem to almost belittle USE for its "me too" petition, calling their arguments "a hodgepodge of unconnected and irrelevant assertions that should also be decisively rejected by the Commission." We take exception to one of XM's and Sirius' arguments. The interoperable receivers are relevant to the merger. One of their arguments for not having them today is that no manufacturer wants to manufacture them. The same will hold true for the receivers required to receive both XM and Sirius promised as part of the merger. They could use the same argument post merger to renege on this promise. But, in general, we agree with the satellite radio providers. USE's arguments are like a loose canon, aimlessly wandering about, wreaking havoc everywhere it touches. Even a blind hog finds an acorn now and then.


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Monday, October 22, 2007

XM to Test Health of XM1 and XM2 Satellites

XM recently requested three Special Temporary Authorities (STA's) for 30 days "to assess the performance of the XM system and the state of health of the XM−1 and XM−2 payloads." The testing will be be conducted in the center of XM's spectrum, normally reserved for the repeater network. The transponders will be operated at saturation while the EiRP measurements are made. No doubt that this is an effort to improve the redundancy of the system to avoid the fiasco that resulted in the temporary lost of one satellite and the repeater system.

XM1 and XM2 serve as in-orbit spares for XM3 and XM4.

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Sunday, October 21, 2007

Chose to Know... Or Not to Know

The saga of the Ikno opposition to Pioneer's Inno trademark application continues. There is nothing like waiting until the eleventh hour and screwing it up. The closing date for discovery in the trademark trial was September 23, 2007. Ikno's attorney filed a motion for a 45 day extension for discovery on September 25, 2007 (dated the 23rd). The stated purpose of the extension was to allow time for the two parties to reach a resolution. What Ikno's attorney didn't know was that he was required to serve this motion on the opposing party. Opps! Consequently, the Trademark Office rejected the motion on October 10, 2007.


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Thursday, October 04, 2007

Charlie Daniels Band Lends Support to Merger

Charlie Daniels isn't fiddling around. He recently sent his comments to the FCC in support of the merger. He hosts his show, Road Dog Trucking, on Sirius channel 147. His support is for the truckers that spend much of their lives on the road and who have played no small part in the success of satellite radio. He feels that there will be a wider range of programming options for truckers and that the merged company will be able to devote more resources to trucking issues such as traffic and weather.

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Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Satellite Radio Reaches Agreement on Royalty Rates for Satellite TV

This might be old news for some, but it is the first that we have heard. Sirius, XM, and MTV were before the Copyright board to determine fair royalty rates for digital audio channels on satellite TV. According to the site, the proceeding are over due to the three reaching agreements with SoundExchange. Here's a reprint from the site:

Digital Performance Right in Sound Recordings and Ephemeral Recordings for a New Subscription Service

(Docket 2005-5 CRB DTNSRA)

Hearing Information

The rebuttal phase of the trial to determine the reasonable rates and terms for a new type of subscription service that 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 was scheduled to take place from September 10, 2007 through September 12, 2007.

However, the Services (Sirius Satellite Radio, Inc., XM Satellite Radio, Inc., and MTV Networks) and SoundExchange reached an agreement and therefore no further proceedings are necessary.



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Cousin Brucie Lends Support to Merger

Today, Bruce Morrow (aka Cousin Brucie) filed his comments with the FCC in support of the merger. He makes the point that terrestrial stations are pulling the plug on oldies hits. His stream on Sirius gives him "the opportunity to play classic favorites that have all but forgotten by other stations." "The merger of XM and Sirius will ensure that satellite radio remains a strong alternative to ubiquitous Top 40 stations..." He also comments that the a la carte pricing will be a benefit to subscribers.

It is good to see him weigh in on the merger.

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Saturday, September 29, 2007

XM Receives Extension on Statement of Use

Remember the trademark applications for Remora and XM Pix? Both of these applications created massive speculation. No products have been introduced yet; however, XM has received a Notice of Allowance for both trademarks. It is up to XM to submit a Statement of Use before the trademark applications are granted. XM recently received extensions for the Statement of Use for both. It is the second such extension for Remora. What does this mean? It means they haven't given up on whatever inspired the applications for Remora and XM Pix. Maybe we will see something yet.

Interestingly, XM also filed for an extension of time to file a Statement of Use this past Thursday for "XM Radio". Our guess is that XM is so preoccupied with the merger that this one fell through the cracks.

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Friday, September 28, 2007

International Bureau Moving Expeditiously on Satellite Radio Applications

Recently, the International Bureau of the FCC has been moving expeditiously on satellite radio applications by XM and Sirius, granting authority on six applications, no less, in the last 2 weeks. In addition, two other XM applications were disposed of when made moot by the authority to operate repeaters in Miami and Nevada (XM withdrew these applications). No applications were denied during this period.

Since the FCC establish average power as the method of measurement (at least until the final repeater rules are established), the WCS Coalition has not had any grounds to protest repeaters operating at or below 2,000 Watt EiRP. The more controversial applications are still pending.

After the FM modulator fiasco, the FCC moved slowly on all applications. The FCC is now moving at a more reasonable pace, except for the more important and controversial applications. Is it because of the current visibility of satellite radio due to the merger? or perhaps the satellite radio providers are back into the good graces of the FCC? or are XM's and Sirius' arch nemeses too preoccupied with the merger to put up much of a fight? or maybe that the FCC is just tired of NAB's and the WCS Coalition's continual whining? Perhaps it is all of the above.

Applications granted in the last two weeks:

XM:

SAT-STA-20070608-00079 Authority to drift XM-2 to the 85.2WL orbital location
SAT-STA-20070628-00091 Authority to operate a substitute low power terrestrial repeater (less than 2 kW EIRP) for one hundred (180) days in Miami
SAT-STA-20070628-00093 Authority to operate a modified substitute low power terrestrial repeater (less than 2 kW EIRP) for one hundred eighty (180) days in Las Vegas, Nevada
SES-STA-20070612-00795 Authority to conduct TT&C operations in conjunction with the relocation of XM-2

Sirius:

SAT-STA-20070719-00104 Authority to operate five (5) low-power satellite digital audio radio service terrestrial repeaters
SAT-STA-20070907-00121 Authority for 30 days to operate terrestrial repeaters and signal boosters at trade shows between October 8, 2007 and November 2, 2007



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Sirius Submits Application for 15 New Repeaters

Today, Sirius applied for authority to install 15 new repeaters operating at 2,000 Watt EiRP average. Repeaters are planned for the following locations:

1770 Lower Rosewell Rd, Marietta, GA
701 Lee Street, Des Plaines, IL
1705 Peters Road, Irving, TX 75061
903 S. Mayhill Road, Denton, TX
8509 East Northbelt Drive, Humble, TX
1360 Ocean Parkway, Brooklyn, NY
830 East 163rd Street, Bronx, NY
4077 Park Avenue, Bronx, NY
60 Turner Place, Brooklyn, NY
1261 Des Peres Rd., Des Peres, MO
9144 Pershall Rd., Hazelwood, MO
4070 Boot Bay Rd., Plant City, FL
18323 Flagship Dr., Lutz, FL
5233 Willana Court, Tampa, FL
4438 Goldernod Rd, Winter Park, FL

Update: Application granted on December 10, 2007

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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

XM Granted Patent for Method and Apparatus for Determining Location in a Satellite Communication System

Yesterday, September 25, 2007, XM was granted a patent for a Method and Apparatus for Determining Location in a Satellite Communication System. The application was one that initially struck fear in the heart of the NAB. The NAB feared that the technology could be used to implement local advertising in satellite radio receivers. This patent describes the method of using two satellites and terrestrial repeaters for determine approximate location within the coverage area. The patent has many applications and is consistent with some XM's other applications for regional information provided to dealerships. The grant of the patent should ruffle a few feathers once again.

This patent is among a string of patents that have been granted to XM recently. This was the fourth patent granted over the last 3 months. Others include:

METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR CONTINUOUS CROSS-CHANNEL INTERLEAVING

METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR NAVIGATING, PREVIEWING AND SELECTING BROADBAND CHANNELS VIA A RECEIVING USER INTERFACE

METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR TIMING RECOVERY IN AN OFDM SYSTEM

Sirius was also granted an interesting patent at the end of July:

SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR CREATING AND RECEIVING PERSONALIZED BROADCASTS

One has to wonder whether a service such as Slacker would run afoul of this patent.

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Monday, September 24, 2007

Sirius Receives Authority for 5 New Repeaters

Today, Sirius received grant of authority to operate five new repeaters:

Cincinnati (84-23-19.0, 39-13-10.0)
St. Louis (90-31-53.4, 38-45-10.2)
(2) Houston (95-31-02.70, 30-00-35.60), (95-25-35.4, 30-07-18.6)
Miami (80-26-25.9, 25-33-44.5)

The FCC has been reacting reasonably with the repeater requests since accepting average power as the measure as opposed to peak power. Sirius applied back in July. All of the above repeaters are rated at 2,000 Watt EiRP average.

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Saturday, September 22, 2007

OT: Sea Launch Readies for DTV 11

Last Tuesday, September 18, 2007, Boeing Frequency Management Services filed for an experimental license on behalf of Sea Launch to test the next DirecTV satellite, DTV 11, at the payload processing center and in port prior to moving the launch vehicle to the equatorial launch site. This should be the first launch since the catastrophic launch failure on January 30, 2007.

Testing is scheduled between November 01, 2007 and May 01, 2007. Launch will take place shortly after testing.

Sea Launch provided the launch services for the XM satellites.

Earlier this year, Sea Launch discovered that it had failed to properly transfer licenses in 2004 when it re-incorporated. Since that time, Sea Launch employed the services of Boeing's Frequency Management Services to manage the regulatory functions.

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XM/Sirius Reject WCS Coalition's Proposal

In a joint filing this past Wednesday, September 19, 2007, Sirius and XM rejected the WCS Coalition proposal to coexist in the 2.3 GHz band. On October 18, 2006, Sirius petitioned the FCC to established the final rules for repeaters. XM followed in January 2007 with its support of the petition. XM took the opportunity to remind the Commission of why the stringent rules were applied to the WCS band.

In its proposal, the Coalition offered a number of compromises. In their joint filling, XM and Sirius successfully refute the arguments put forth by the coalition. However, there were areas of agreement as quoted below:

• blanket licensing of satellite radio repeaters;

• exemption of very low power repeater transmitters from licensing restrictions;

• relying on 16 dB band pass filters in WCS transceivers to reduce potential interference from satellite radio repeaters;

• assessing interference levels via average power measurement;

• establishing inter-licensee coordination to share details about proposed new deployments; and

• commencement of a rulemaking proceeding that will formulate simultaneous changes to both Part 27 and Part 25 rules.

The main areas of concern to XM and Sirius are:

* The mobile services would "cause crippling interference to Satellite Radio"

* Limiting transmit power rather than power flux density would cause undue interference to satellite radio

* Refusal of the Coalition to accept the grandfathering of existing repeaters.

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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Sirius Receives Certification on 3 New Radios

Sirius' 3 manufacturers each recently received certification on a new radio, including the new Stiletto 2 and cradle by Wistron Neweb; the Sportster 5 by Ki Ryung; and the Stratus 4 by Humax.

The Stiletto 2 comes with a 1615 mAH, 3.7V, Li ion polymer battery. The battery life is given as follows:










In addition to the 2 GB internal memory, the Stilletto 2 can accommodate up to an 8 GB microSD card. It is located under the battery, so the battery has to be removed in order to install it. The microSD cannot be used to store Sirius content.

Up to 10 hours of individual songs can be recorded. It will hold up to 100 hours of scheduled or block recordings. Up to 800 MB of purchased or subscribed MP3 or WMA content can be downloaded to the unit. Radio replays are up to the available memory. The unit integrates with the Yahoo! Musicbox software to manage playlists and download music.

It accommodates the 802.11b/g WiFi standard.

Sounds like another winner for Sirius.



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Thursday, August 23, 2007

WCS Coalition Opposes Sirius' Experimental License

Not surprisely, the WCS Coalition opposes Sirius' experimental license application to test its farm of experimental repeaters in Las Vegas, even though the repeaters are all low powered. Sirius intends to test up to 10 repeaters operating at or under 2,000 Watt EiRP. It seems that the Coalition is back to its old tricks.

The full text of the experimental application is here. It is still pending.


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