Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Sirius Files Opposition to the Petition to Deny Authority to Operate Repeaters in Hawaii and Alaska

Sirius has filed its Opposition to the Petition to Deny Sirius the authority to operate repeaters in Hawaii and Alaska filed by NAB and the Alaska/Hawaii Broadcasters Association. In its response, Sirius was emphatic that its "service area covers the entire United States, including Alaska and Hawaii." And, 'Specifically, the proposed repeaters will be used only for "simultaneous retransmission of [the complete] programming, [and only that programming,] transmitted directly to SDARS subscriber[s]' receivers."' Here, in our opinion, Sirius is mincing words, in the case of Hawaii. To our knowledge, Hawaiians are not driving around in their automobiles listening to satellite radio. If anyone has news to the contrary, please let us know. Granted, Sirius never says that. Their service area can indeed include Hawaii and Alaska, and, yes, the satellites are transmitting their signals from space and some signals, however infinitesimal, might reach Hawaii, but the likelihood of a Sirius receiver ever actually receiving a signal in Hawaii that can be processed to produce coherent audio for any practical duration is between slim and none. Europe likely has at least as much a chance as that.

Sirius does make some excellent points, including that this is just another example of the terrestrial broadcasters opposing competition in any form. Naturally, Sirius believes the petition is factually and legally baseless. The best point Sirius makes is that "the terrestrial broadcasters' complaint is with the existence of satellite radio rather than the use of complementary repeaters. But the Commission is long past that policy decision, and terrestrial broadcasters should move on."

Another favorite is 'Having fought against any local programming, terrestrial broadcasters' current claim that satellite radio providers now have a competitive advantage because they have no local programming "obligation" is patently absurd.'

In their conclusion, one can sense the frustration:

Terrestrial broadcasters have fought satellite radio--as they have other audio and video platforms--from its inception. Clearly, terrestrial broadcasters do not like competition and believe that the FCC exists to protect them from competition.

Well said.

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