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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