Monday, January 08, 2007

XM Files Comment in Support of Sirius' Proposed Rulemaking for Repeaters

On January 05, 2007, XM filed comments in support of the proposed making offered by Sirius back on October 18, 2006.

Summary of Sirius' Proposal:
  1. Blanket license for satellite radio licencees to build and operate repeaters within certain rules.
  2. Repeaters not to exceed -44 dBm (100 dbuV/m) measured at 2 meters above ground leved with certain exceptions
  3. Collocation acceptable on a non-interference basis with responsibility on the licensee adding antenna
  4. Maintain a a secure Internet web providing repeater site locations, emergency contacts, etc. (I wonder how long that would last)
The WCS Coalition embraced the principles behind Sirius' proposal, but has used it many times has a basis to oppose anything to do with the satellite radio repeaters. The Coalition did not like the idea of grandfathering in the present repeaters, since it would give them no recourse in the event of interference.

XM doesn't spend much time in its comments on the Sirius proposal other than to lend its support. Instead, XM uses it to remind the FCC and the WCS Coalition that stringent rules were applied to the WCS licenses to avoid interference with satellite radio. It also reminded them that many applications would not be practical because of the limitations imposed and that it would likely be more expensive to implement services, particularly mobile services. XM urges the FCC not to relax these limitations and in fact indicates that recent acquisitions of the licenses were in speculation that the FCC would relax the rules for the WCS license holders. XM reminds them just how little the WCS license holders originally paid for these licenses due to the limitations. XM and Sirius paid $170 million for their combined licenses for 25 MHz of spectrum, where they paid a mere $13 million for the 30 MHz they acquired.

Evidently, there is speculation abound that the FCC will relax the technical limitations imposed on the WCS licenses holders at the expense of satellite radio listeners. This would be a travesty if the FCC were to do so. The Coalition has scored numerous victories against satellite radio recently, including obstructing XM from acquiring WCS Wireless, an extension of the buildout date for their services without which they risked losing their licenses to the possible benefit of satellite radio, and have obstructed the satellite providers from operating their repeaters in an effective matter. The Coalition is lead by the AT&T-BellSouth behemoth. They apparently have an enormous influence on the FCC and would gain an enormous windfall if the FCC relaxed the rules.

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