Saturday, January 27, 2007

Honda Patent Application for Broadcasting Safety Messages

On January 25, 2007, Honda had a patent application disclosed for broadcasting vehicle safety messages to vehicles. Basically, the affected vehicles are identified, then parts inventory is coordinated with the associated dealers, then a safety message is transmitted to the affected vehicles.

In one of the embodiments, XM is mentioned as one of the methods by which the messages are delivered. Here's an excerpt:

[0028] In one embodiment, the remote server 44 receives and processes information relating to recalls/updates for vehicle products or parts and the availability of parts at the dealer. The server 44 is in communication with the vehicle over a one-to-many communication network 31. In the present embodiment, the one-to-many communication network 31 comprises a broadcast center that is further in communication with one or more communication satellites that relay the vehicle safety message as a broadcast message to a mobile unit 18 in the owner's vehicle 12. In the present embodiment, the broadcast center and the satellites are part of a satellite radio broadcasting system (e.g., XM Satellite Radio). It will be understood that the safety message can be broadcast via any suitable information broadcast system (e.g., FM radio, AM radio, or the like), and is not limited to the satellite radio broadcast system. In one embodiment, the mobile unit 18 relays the safety message to an onboard computer system, such as the vehicle's navigation system 14, which in turn displays the safety message on a display unit. In another embodiment, the safety message is provided to the vehicle owner via an auditory message played on the vehicle's audio system.


United States Patent Application 20070022173
Kind Code A1

Tamura; Kazuya ; et al.

January 25, 2007

Method and system for broadcasting safety messages to a vehicle

Abstract

A method and system is provided for broadcasting vehicle safety messages to one or more vehicles. In an embodiment, the system comprises an input device, processor, transmitter, receiver, memory module, display, and user interface. The input device is used for generating a vehicle safety message. The processor is coupled to the input device and is programmed to identify vehicles within a geographic region affected by the safety message. The transmitter is coupled to the processor for broadcasting the safety messages to the identified vehicles. The receiver is located on the vehicles for receiving the broadcasted safety message. The memory module is coupled to the receiver for storing the safety message. The display is operatively coupled to the memory module for indicating the receipt of the safety message to the vehicle driver. The user interface is coupled to the display for selecting the safety message to be communicated to the user.

Inventors: Tamura; Kazuya; (Rancho Palos Verdes, CA) ; Harris; Harry; (Raymond, OH)

Correspondence Name and Address:

O'MELVENY & MYERS LLP
400 So. Hope Street
Los Angeles
CA
90071-2899
US

Assignee Name and Adress: HONDA MOTOR CO., LTD.
Serial No.: 479407
Series Code: 11
Filed: June 30, 2006
U.S. Current Class: 709/207
U.S. Class at Publication: 709/207
Intern'l Class: G06F 15/16 20060101 G06F015/16

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Friday, January 19, 2007

NAB Meets with FCC Once Again to Discuss Repeaters

The NAB met with FCC once again to discuss XM's and Sirius' repeaters. This is the second such meeting. Both XM and Sirius are seeking approval of their "as built" repeater networks. Specifically, they discussed Sirius' intention of using repeaters in Alaska and Hawaii.

NAB also requested that the FCC open an investigation into the facts and circumstances regarding the deployment of these repeaters.

Are the repeaters interfering with terrestrial radio? Of course not. Why does NAB care so much? No doubt, they would like for satellite radio to disappear. They are creating as much havoc as possible for satellite radio. Their goal is clear. They are using the FCC to do their dirty work.

The FCC mandated continental US coverage (CONUS) for satellite radio and highly encouraged the satellite radio providers to provide coverage in Alaska and Hawaii and other territories. It would be disingenuous at this point for the FCC to deny the people of Hawaii and in particularly Alaska high quality satellite radio service. Does the NAB think the good people of Hawaii and Alaska are second class citizens?

NAB also encourages the FCC to place XM's and Sirius' 30 and 180 day applications on public notice for comment. This is a favorite delay tactic by NAB. However, they are too late. It is already on public notice and that is why we are able to see their comments.

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FCC Grants XM 30 Day Authority To Operate Very Low Powered Repeaters

Today, the FCC granted XM's second 30 day authority to operate very low powered repeaters and signal boosters at trade shows. While we applaud the speed at which the FCC granted the 30 day authority, it would seem to be more efficient and better use of the taxpayer's money if they were to simply grant XM's 180 day request. It seems ridiculous for both the FCC and XM to have to go through this process every 30 days, especially since the WCS Coalition has given its blessing.

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Thursday, January 18, 2007

OT: Mobile Satellite Ventures Files Application

Many of you may know Gary Parsons as COB for XM. He is also the COB of Mobile Satellite Ventures (MSV). Yesterday, MSV filed an application with the FCC to modify its license to launch and operate its MSV-1 satellite. It seeks to operate on an S-WiMax protocol (satellite WiMax). It also seeks to use ground based beam forming rather than satellite based beam forming, among other things. For those interested in MSV, you can find the application here.

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FCC Grants 3 New Authories to XM and Sirius

The FCC cleared out some very old applications today for both XM and Sirius. These 3 applications date back to 2005.

Both XM and Sirius were granted a 180 day authority each to operate an additional 5,000 in-store low power signal boosters (< 100 micro Watt).

In addition, XM was granted another 180 day authority to operate 5,000 indoor low power signal boosters manufactured by Translight Video Systems, Inc. This may actually have some significance. The signal boosters are requested for "stores and other establishments". XM will maintain ownership of these boosters, so they are not for sale. We suspect that they will be used in such places as restaurants, gyms, etc.

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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

XM Files Second Application for Very Low Power Repeaters and Signal Boosters

On December 19, 2006, the FCC granted XM 30 day authority to operate very low powered powered repeaters and signal boosters at tradeshows. Today, XM applied for a second 30 day authority. When XM applied for the original 30 authority, they also applied for a 180 day authority, which the FCC has yet to rule on.

The news here is not the second application. It is how the FCC is dragging its feet on all satellite radio applications--XM's and Sirius'. XM and Sirius have been reduced to groveling before the WCS Coalition and the FCC every 3o days for applications that used to be automatic. It is evident that the FCC is either trying to punish satellite radio or is trying to disrupt its business. There are much more important applications out there, especially the ones for repeaters, that the FCC is dragging its feet on. The FCC decisions have the ability to destroy satellite radio. The FCC has been dragging its feet for years in establishing permanent rules for repeaters. There used to be some degree of uncertainty from one six month period to another. Now it is complete uncertainty from one 3o day period to the next. XM and Sirius can't do anything without first getting approval from the WCS Coalition (effectively AT&T). What's their motivation? Without satellite radio, they would have 30 MHz of unobstructed spectrum, spectrum they paid almost nothing for (55 MHz if you include the spectrum of satellite radio). It is sad to see the FCC influenced so much by the WCS Coalition. It is at the expense of the satellite radio subscriber. If they had this spectrum, it would be worth billions to the WiMax industry. Who knows; maybe AT&T will buy satellite radio.

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Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Urge to Merge Part 1

There has been a dearth of news lately on satellite radio. Even our friends at the Coalition have been quiet. Out of profound boredom, we too would like to comment on the merger speculation. As much as we would like to pretend otherwise, the FCC will never let it happen. The FCC put "safeguards" in place to ensure that it never happens. When the merger rumors first surfaced, the attempted DirecTV/EchoStar merger immediately came to mind. And, indeed, the FCC recently quoted this merger proposal as a guideline that they might use regarding satellite radio. The merger, of course, was denied.

The rules and policies for satellite radio were established in the FCC's "Report and Order Memorandum Opinion and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking", adopted and published on March 3, 1997. This is THE key document governing satellite radio. The key paragraph is located under "Safeguads", paragraph 170. It is noteworthy that it is under "Safeguards".

170. Transfers. We note that DARS licensees, like other satellite licensees, will be subject to rule 25.118, which prohibits transfers or assignments of licenses except upon application to the Commission and upon a finding by the Commission that the public interest would be served thereby. Even after DARS licenses are granted, one licensee will not be permitted to acquire control of the other remaining satellite DARS license. This prohibition on transfer of control will help assure sufficient continuing competition in the provision of satellite DARS service.

True, anything that man puts together can be torn asunder, but in this case, the FCC made itself very clear. The reasoning behind this decision can be found under "Specific Frequency Assignments and Satellite DARS Competition". The two key paragraphs are listed below:

77. Although spectrum constraints limit us to licensing just two satellite DARS systems at this time, our licensing approach nonetheless provides the opportunity for a competitive DARS service. Our goal is to create as competitive a market structure as possible, while permitting each DARS provider to offer sufficient channels for a viable service. In the Notice, we pointed out that "satellite DARS will face competition from terrestrial radio services, CD players in automobiles and homes, and audio services delivered as part of cable and satellite services," and asked whether these delivery media, coupled with fewer than four DARS providers, could ensure an effectively competitive audio services market.

78. Other audio delivery media are not, of course, perfect substitutes for satellite DARS. These media and satellite DARS all differ with respect to the programming menu (terrestrial radio can provide local programming and satellite DARS cannot), the sound quality, the cost of equipment, and the presence or absence of a subscription fee, but they all can provide music. The availability of these media, terrestrial radio in particular, varies across populated areas. Given our conclusion that satellite DARS can provide new and valuable service to the public, and given the overall competitive environment within which it will operate, we are satisfied that licensing two satellite DARS providers will serve the public interest. We agree with commenters, that there should be more than one satellite DARS license awarded. Licensing at least two service providers will help ensure that subscription rates are competitive as well as provide for a diversity of programming voices. The two DARS licensees will compete against each other for satellite DARS customers and will face additional competitive pressure from the other aural delivery media mentioned above. Accordingly, eligible auction participants may acquire only one of the two licenses being auctioned. One license will be for the use of spectrum between 2320 and 2332.5 MHz and the other for 2332.5 though 2345 MHz.


The key point in paragraph 77 is that the FCC recognized the competition from free radio, CD's, and cable and satellite services when they made the rules. In one of Parsons' recent addresses he thought that satellite radio would be considered in the broader context. He gave the example that no one would ever remove a factory installed XM radio and install a Sirius radio, or visa versa. His point was that Sirius and XM are not each others main competitor. It is free radios, iPods, etc; therefore, satellite radio would be considered in the broader context. It was a very good point and it is all true. However, and it a big however, the FCC also manadated interoperability. If satellite radio had lived up to the spirit of this mandate, there would be interoperability. The customer could easily change services on a factory install. They would be competitors. The FCC would no doubt take the view that if there is no competition, it is the fault of satellite radio. The argument is likely to fall on deaf ears.

In paragraph 78, the FCC goes on to say, "We agree with commenters, that there should be more than one satellite DARS license awarded. Licensing at least two service providers will help ensure that subscription rates are competitive as well as provide for a diversity of programming voices. The two DARS licensees will compete against each other for satellite DARS customers and will face additional competitive pressure from the other aural delivery media mentioned above." The FCC recognized that it was important to have at least two satellite radio providers in order to keep the rates reasonable and to provide a diversity of programming. On what grounds could the FCC justify abandonning this policy? The only argument that the FCC might consider is that if a merger isn't granted, both satellite radio providers will fail. Is this the motivation for the merger?

In addition, XM does not appear to be disposed to the idea of a merger. Sure, they will entertain the idea. They have to. The recent bylaw changes, no doubt, came about because of the merger pressure. The bylaw changes, in effect, prevent a shareholder coup. Otherwise, the idea of a merger could have been forced upon XM's management. Now, the effort has to be much, much more organized and planned. Sirius could short circuit the process and offer an insane amount for XM. They made this gamble with Stern and it seems to have worked out for them. Might Sirius take another gamble? Could XM's management refuse $50, $60, or more a share? Add to that that Karmazin has said that he would never again work anywhere where he wasn't top dog. We can't see XM's management relinquishing control to Karmazin.

Outside the FCC, the greatest impediment might be time itself. Even if the FCC were disposed to entertain the idea of a merger, it would take a minimum of eight months to get approval and likely closer to a couple of years. In a couple of years, satellite radio will either be doing very well or will have gone down the tubes. If it is doing well, a merger is not necessary. If they fail, oh well...

There would be concessions too, concessions that would minimize the value of the merger. A streamlined satellite radio provider with twice the bandwidth could be a potent force in the entertainment business. They would likely be challenged to give up the spectrum of one or the other. A new competitor could enter. There are two other entities permitted to hold satellite radio licenses. The WCS Coalition would likely try to force them to give up all the medium and high powered repeaters, diminishing the quality of service. The NAB certainly would not want to see a stronger satellite radio competitor. They would seek concessions to diminish the effectness of the merger. They would no doubt target the weather and traffic channels.

Then there is the latest group that just formed that intends to oppose the merger for exactly the same reasons given in the FCC Report and Order. It wouldn't surprise us to see a national organization behind this group, although we agree with their intentions from a consumer point of view.

Merger? It ain't gonna happen.

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Friday, January 12, 2007

OT: Denied!

It was reported here late December that three public safety minded sixth graders had applied for an experimental license to transmit emergency messages over AM and FM. With two words, the FCC dealt the enterprising youngsters a crushing blow today: DENIED/DISMISSED!

Was it some national organization complaining about localism, or some petty organization complaining about theoretical interference to non-existent towers far, far away, or did they forget to specify average or peak power, or did some paranoid public radio organization conduct more test to show it would interfere with classical radio? We may never know. All we know is that the lads from Manheim, Pennsylvania will have to find a new project to which to apply their inventive minds.

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Wednesday, January 10, 2007

XM PIX Published for Opposition

Yesterday, XM's trademark application was published for opposition. We can't wait to see what this one is about.
Mark Image
Word Mark XM PIX
Goods and Services IC 009. US 021 023 026 036 038. G & S: satellite radio receiver
Standard Characters Claimed
Mark Drawing Code (4) STANDARD CHARACTER MARK
Design Search Code
Serial Number 78832261
Filing Date March 8, 2006
Current Filing Basis 1B
Original Filing Basis 1B
Published for Opposition January 9, 2007
Owner (APPLICANT) XM Satellite Radio Inc. CORPORATION DELAWARE 1500 Eckington Place, N.E. Washington D.C. 20002
Attorney of Record Cynthia D. Greer
Prior Registrations 2547677;2556817;2666915;AND OTHERS
Disclaimer NO CLAIM IS MADE TO THE EXCLUSIVE RIGHT TO USE "PIX" APART FROM THE MARK AS SHOWN
Type of Mark TRADEMARK
Register PRINCIPAL
Live/Dead Indicator LIVE



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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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Sunday, January 07, 2007

WCS Coalition Conditionally Opposes XM's Request to Operate a Repeat at PGA Events

On January 05, 2007, the WCS Coalition asked the FCC to conditionally deny XM's 180 day request to operate a repeater at PGA. Why? Because XM did not specify whether the repeater would operate at peak or average power. XM does not specify it because is mandated to be peak power. If XM promises to keep it below 2,000 Watt peak power, then the Coalition will not ask the FCC to deny the request. The Coalition also takes the opportunity to needle XM for saying the repeater was needed as a fill-in for satellite coverage. XM, of course, does not have satellite coverage in Hawaii, where two of the events will take place. They don't oppose it on those grounds; they just took the opportunity to point out XM's faults.

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Emergency Alert System

Many of you heard the Emergency Alert System (EAS) messages distributed on satellite radio recently. As of December 31, 2006, the two Satellite Digital Audio Radio Service (SDARS) providers—XM and Sirius—are required to participate in the EAS on a national level. Participation on the state and local level is voluntary, although both SDARS providers have decided to participate.

Testing Requirements for SDARS

Monthly Tests

EAS header codes, Attention Signal, Test Script and End of Message (EOM) code:

Tests in odd numbered months shall occur between 8:30 a.m. and local sunset. Tests in even numbered months shall occur between local sunset and 8:30 a.m. They will originate from Local or State Primary sources. The time and script content will be developed by State Emergency Communications Committees in cooperation with affected EAS Participants. Script content may be in the primary language of the EAS Participant. These monthly tests must be transmitted within 60 minutes of receipt by EAS Participants in an EAS Local Area or State.

Weekly Tests

EAS Header Codes and End of Message (EOM) Codes:

Tests EAS Header and EOM codes at least once a week at random days and times on all channels.

The History

What is the EAS? The EAS has its roots in CONELRAD (Control of Electromagnetic Radiation). CONELRAD was started in 1951 under the Truman administration during the Korean War as a means for the “President to address the American people, to provide attack warning, and to supply emergency information.” “Under CONELRAD, designated AM radio stations operated on 640 or1240KHz during an emergency alert so that enemy missiles or bombers could not use broadcast transmissions of other stations as a guide to their targets.”

In 1963, CONELRAD was replaced by the Emergency Broadcast System (EBS) under the Kennedy administration. In 1994, the EBS was replaced by the EAS. The EAS represented a technological advancement and an expansion of the warning system beyond the traditional broadcast media, including the cable systems.

The EAS is under the jurisdiction of FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency). The FCC, FEMA, and the National Weather Service (NWS) implement the EAS at the federal level. The State Emergency Coordination Committes (SECCs) and Local Emergency Coordination Committees (LECCs) develop the state and local plans. The EAS is design to provide the President with the capability of transmitting a message to the public within 10 minutes from any location and takes priority over any other message and preempts any other message in process. The President has sole discretion for initiating the EAS on the national level; the President has delegated this authority to the director of FEMA. There has never been a national alert. Approximately 80% of all EAS alerts are generated by the NWS.

On August 04, 2004, the FCC issued a Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) in an effort to improve the EAS. Both XM and Sirius were contributors to the formation of the rules that would eventually affect satellite radio.

Then, on November 10, 2005, the FCC issued the Report and Order for the EAS. Prior to this time, the SDARS providers were not required to participate. The Order required the SDARS providers to participate on a national level starting December 31, 2006. They were highly encouraged to participate on a state and local level. Under the requirements, the SDARS providers are required to test the system on a monthly and weekly basis. The rules require that the SDARS providers test the EAS message monthly and weekly on all channels.

On December 27, 2005, XM petitioned the FCC to allow it to test the system on all channels on a yearly basis and on a monthly basis on the weather and traffic channels. On March 02, 2006, Sirius filed a comment is support of XM’s proposals. The FCC has not ruled on this; however, the FCC has had discussions with the SDARS provides where they suggest that the SDARS providers implement something like a “Game Alert” to alert listeners. Sirius told the FCC that it was technically feasible, but current radios could not do this.

Below is the discussion of the SDARS providers taken directly from the Report and Order:

E. Satellite Digital Audio Radio Service

40. Background. Governed by Part 25 of our rules, SDARS provides a wide variety of digital radio programming on a subscription basis to subscribers throughout the contiguous United States.” In 1997, the Commission granted SDARS licenses at auction to two entities: Sirius Satellite and XM Radio Inc. (XM) (formerly, American Mobile Radio Corporation). Most SDARS programming is created in the licensees’ central headquarters in New York City (Sirius) and Washington, D.C. (XM), but SDARS licensees also re-transmit the programming of third-party content providers. Content is currently transmitted exclusively on a nationwide basis. SDARS licensees have recently begun providing metropolitan area traffic and weather updates on a round-the-clock basis by means of dedicated channels, but all subscribers receive each of these channels on a nationwide basis. For example, both SDARS licensees have a dedicated channel providing traffic and weather reports for Philadelphia, which can be tuned into not only by subscribers in the Philadelphia area, but also by all other subscribers throughout the contiguous United States.

41. In the 1994 EAS First Report and Order, the Commission encouraged digital broadcasters to participate in the EAS system. SDARS, however, is not a broadcast service, and is not currently required to participate in EAS. In the EAS NPRM, the Commission sought comment on whether we should adopt rules extending EAS obligations to other digital networks, such as SDARS. We also sought comment on whether SDARS licensees’ national distribution structures affect their ability to discharge EAS obligations effectively.

42. Both providers have already implemented some form of emergency alerts in their programming. XM, in addition to providing regional and local emergency information over its traffic and weather channels,116 has a channel dedicated exclusively to public safety and emergency alerts. XM indicates that this alert channel is committed to providing critical, updated information before, during, and after natural disasters, weather emergencies, and other hazardous incidents. To ensure that critical emergency information is received and transmitted quickly on its traffic and weather channels and the channel dedicated to emergency alerts, XM states that its personnel monitor a variety of sources 24 hours a day including FEMA, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, NWS, and state and local public safety organizations. Sirius currently has a voiceover alert capability that interrupts programming to transmit a voice message “instruct[ing] listeners that an emergency exists and that they should tune to one of Sirius’ news program channels for further details. Sirius used this voiceover alert capability during the Northeast Blackout in August 2003.

43. Discussion. We amend Part 11 of our rules to require that all SDARS licensees participate in EAS. The new rules will require SDARS licensees to transmit national level EAS messages on all channels. Both XM and Sirius have stated that, once received, they are currently capable of transmitting national EAS messages on every channel. We will require that SDARS licensees receive national EAS messages through an ENDEC unit, the same manner as currently required of broadcasters and cable systems, from which they must directly monitor at least two sources, including one PEP station, or must directly monitor FEMA.124This should not be difficult to accomplish as XM currently already monitors EAS alerts from an LP-I station through an ENDEC unit located at its Washington, D.C. headquarters. We strongly encourage SDARS licensees to have the ability to receive EAS alerts from state and local emergency managers and the ability to disseminate state and local EAS warnings on local traffic and weather channels that the SDARS licensees provide. We will require SDARS licensees to inform their customers of the channels that will and will not be capable of supplying state and local EAS message. Finally, we will require SDARS licensees to test their ability to receive and distribute EAS messages in the same manner required of other EAS participants in section 11.61 of our rules and to keep records of all tests. Although XM states that it is committed to testing its EAS equipment, it suggests that our rules should require it to conduct tests only on its XM Emergency Channel. Although we commend XM for its commitment to test its EAS equipment, we disagree with its view regarding testing requirements. The EAS testing regime is designed to test not only the EAS participant's ability to receive the message from the source it monitors, but also the ability of the participant to disseminate an alert to its entire audience. SDARS licensees should monitor a state or local primary source to participate in testing. Because SDARS licensees will face burdens of equipment purchase, installation and/or training similar to those of DTV and DAB broadcasters and digital cable providers, these new rules will also take effect December 31,2006.

44. We believe that requiring SDARS licensees to transmit national EAS messages will serve the public interest because the current rules do not guarantee that the substantial and increasing number of people who subscribe to SDARS would receive EAS alerts on their SDARS receivers. There are currently over six million SDARS subscribers and this number continues to grow. SDARS is an expanding service, with providers creating partnerships with wireless telephone providers, automobile manufacturers and major media companies.'" Thus, extending national EAS obligations to SDARS will promote the safety of the large and growing number of Americans who are subscribing to this service. We disagree with commenters who claim that voluntary participation in national EAS activations by SDARS licensees would be sufficient. Failure to include SDARS participation in national EAS activations could potentially leave a substantial number of Americans without access to critical information in the event of a national emergency. We agree with commenters who assert that the extension of EAS obligations to SDARS licensees is an important addition to the EAS system. As noted above, both XM and Sirius have stated that, once received, they are currently capable of transmitting national EAS messages on every channel. Moreover, we leave it to the SDARS licensees to design their distribution systems to comply with the EAS rules, as we share the concern of commenters that detailed EAS requirements would limit innovation in the area of developing new ways to provide EAS alerts.

45. In addition, like broadcasters and cable providers, SDARS licensees will not be obligated to transmit state and local alerts. We note, as mentioned above, that SDARS licensees are currently providing some channels containing regional or local traffic and weather information. Because of the nature of this programming, and the likelihood that the audience is located or interested in a particular city or region, we strongly encourage SDARS licensees to develop and implement a distribution system that includes the ability to receive relevant state and local EAS warnings and the ability to transmit those warnings on channels that provide regional and local traffic and weather information. Most emergencies originate at the state and local level and the current EAS includes an interface for state and local emergency managers that allows them to originate and relay state and local EAS messages through radio and television broadcast stations, analog cable systems and wireless cable systems. Unlike broadcast stations and cable systems, however, the SDARS licensees produce and control their programming from facilities, primarily in Washington, D.C. and New York City, that are not necessarily located in the area for which the traffic and weather is being reported and are not located such that an ENDEC unit or units could be used to receive regional or local alerts relevant to every state or local area within the SDARS licensees’ service areas. Accordingly, while we strongly encourage SDARS licensees to develop and implement the ability to receive relevant state and local EAS warnings, we do not believe it is appropriate at this time to mandate that SDARS licensees have such ability.

46. We recognize that SDARS is by nature a national service, and that as a result the development of methods to ensure receipt of state and local alerts by SDARS licensees is likely to be challenging. Currently, both SDARS licensees have implemented methods of monitoring regional and local alerts to provide warnings on their various regional traffic and weather channels and we commend their regional and local public safety efforts. Commenters alluded to the idea of a centralized system to which state and local officials could release emergency alerts as being a feasible solution for satellite licensees to receive regional EAS alerts. Alternatively, the SDARS licensees also suggested that they could explore transmitting state and local alerts if they were contacted directly by state and local emergency authorities.

We will allow SDARS licensees that choose to implement the ability to receive state and local EAS warnings to develop the methods by which they can receive state and local EAS messages.

47. The dissemination of state and local emergency messages by SDARS based on the listener’s location is likely to be challenging as well. Unlike a national EAS message, transmission of a state or local emergency message to appropriate receivers is complicated by the fact that SDARS cannot and does not currently transmit content regionally. Thus, transmission of local emergency information on all channels, which would reach all affected listeners, would also reach -and inconvenience -millions of unaffected listeners nationwide as well. If listeners are deluged with too many emergency messages, most of which are inapplicable to them, then emergency messages may well lose their impact. For this reason, we encourage SDARS licensees that choose to implement the ability to receive and transmit state and local EAS warnings to develop additional ways of distributing EAS messages to the appropriate listeners, regardless of the channel they are listening to. We note that both SDARS licensees suggested distributing state and local EAS messages over their existing traffic and weather channels, and as indicated above, both currently provide some emergency information and alerts to subscribers over these regional content channel. Finally, we require SDARS licensees to inform their customers of the channels that will and will not supply state and local EAS messages. This information should he provided on the SDARS licensee’s website and also distributed in writing to customers at least annually.

48. To alert listeners to an emergency announcement that may interest them, Sirius also suggested exploring the possibility of pre-empting the text box that normally contains the channel name and current programming, to announce the state or region and type of alert, and the channel number transmitting detailed information. We strongly encourage such developments, and the use of the SDARS and DAB text box to display entire EAS messages, which we hope to see included in any next generation public alert and warning system.

References:

Notice of Proposed Rulemaking

Report and Order 1-26

Report and Order 27-B-11

Report and Order B12-D2

Report and Order D3-E10+

XM’s Petition

Sirius Support of XM Petition

Sirius Teleconference Call


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Saturday, January 06, 2007

Patent Application for Operating Satellites in Tundra Orbits to Reduce Receiver Buffering Requirements for Time Diversity Signals

This is a patent application for Sirius, right? Wrong. This is an XM application. Sirius operates its satellites in a Tundra Orbit, but recently applied to operate a geostationary satellite. XM satellites are in geostationary orbit. Is XM thinking about changing orbits?

This application was published by the European Patent Office late last year on November 08, 2006. It is not uncommon that after receiving a US Patent that they following up with international patent applications. Sure enough, I found this XM patent granted on August 27, 2002. So, no, XM is not changing the orbits, but they did think about the Tundra orbits at one time and perhaps they might use it for satellite radio operations in other parts of the world, if they ever decide to go international. It caught our eyes. Thought it might be related to an international operation, but on a second look, it probably doesn't mean much.

Method and Apparatus for Selectively Operating Satellites in Tundra Orbits to Reduce Receiver Buffering Requirements for Time Diversity Signals


Abstract of EP1720266
A method for controlling first, second and third geosynchronous satellites in tundra orbits in three orbital planes in a time diversity system, the time diversity system providing both an early satellite signal and a late satellite signal to receivers, the late satellite signal corresponding to a delayed early satellite signal, the satellites each traversing a common ground track having a northern loop a southern loop, and a crossover point between the northern and southern loops, the southern loop being intersected via the equator, the method comprising the steps of: powering on a first satellite that is ascending said southern loop from the equator; operating a second satellite at apogee as a lite satellite to provide said late satellite signal to said receivers; powering down a third after descending the southern loop below the equator, said third satellite having operated as an early satellite to provide said early signal to said receivers prior to reaching an orbital position near the equator; operating said first satellite as said late satellite when said first satellite reaches said crossover point, said first satellite operating as said late satellite while said first satellite traverses said northern loop; and switching operation of said second satellite from operation as said late satellite to operation as said early satellite when said second satellite traverses said crossover point to commence its descent of said southern loop.

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Thursday, January 04, 2007

GM Patent Application for Demonstrating Vehicle Features and Promotions

Today, GM had a patent application disclosed that includes the use of a dedicated satellite radio channel to demonstrate the features of a vehicle. It's a novel application of satellite radio.

In one embodiment, a vehicle located at a dealership receives a satellite radio signal. The geographic region is determined by a GPS system in the vehicle. A unique message or command is applied to the vehicle. For example, power windows, power sunroof, and power locks can be demonstrated. An executable file can instruct the telematic unit to operate the functions while the salesperson makes the sales pitch. An audio and/or video may accompany the demonstration. Special promotions unique to the dealer my be offered to the potential buyer. The potential buyer may be serenaded by music unique to that region. A specific channel of information may also be provided without a subscription if the vehicle remains within a certain geographic region or is of a specific vehicle type or year. Sounds like the car could sell itself.

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Monday, January 01, 2007

Top Ten Stories

Yeah, it's that time of year where everyone puts out a Top 10, Top 100, or Top whatever. Satellite Radio TechWorld is no exception. Satellite Radio TechWorld began operation in September 2006. In those four months, the top ten stories in order were as follows:

Breaking News:Stiletto Receives Certification!
Sirius Receives Three New Certifications
Sirius Shuts Down 11 Repeaters
XM Files 30 Day STA Concerning Repeaters
Details Out on the X2G100 Receiver
Breaking News: Sirius Requests Authority to Launch Geostationary Satellite
Sportster 4 Receives New Certification
Breaking News: Arbitron Personal Meter
Breaking News: Sirius Files Application to Operate Repeaters in Alaska and Hawaii
Humax Receives Certification on Its Sirius InV SV2 Receiver

It must be noted that as readership has grown, the stories are more heavily weighted by those occuring later in the year. For whatever reason, there is a definite bias for Sirius related news. Perhaps this is due to the greater number of Sirius shareholders or perhaps the Sirius investors follow their investments more closely.

During this time, TechWorld has seen its readership grow from readers in the US and a few from Canada to readers in 58 countries (excluding the incidental hits from an additional 36). The top ten countries are:

1. United States
2. Canada
3. Egypt
4. Germany
5. United Kingdom
6. Taiwan
7. India
8. Europe (in general)
9. Italy
10. Dominican Republic

The Top 10 regions of the US are:

1. New York
2. Unknown (not set)
3. New Jersey
4. California
5. Pennsylvania
6. Florida
7. Maryland
8. Illinois
9. Ohio
10. Virginia

The Top 10 domains are:

1. comcast.net
2. unknown (not set)
3. verizon.net
4. rr.com
5. aol.com
6. optonline.net
7. cox.net
8. xmradio.com
9. bellsouth.net
10. adelphia.net

That's our fun with Google Analytics for today. We hope that everyone has a healthy and prosperous 2007.

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