On Friday, the FCC voted to approve the Sirius buyout of XM Satellite Radio. The vote came with many strings attached, though none were unexpected. Here’s a recap:
- $19.7 million fine to resolve enforcement issues, “including locating towers in un-approved locations and selling radios which exceeded power limits”
- Three-year price cap for existing subscribers
- A-la-carte pricing intended to give subscribers greater control over which channels they receive
- Interoperable radios to be brought to market within one year
- 8% of total channel capacity reserved for educational and minority-owned programming
These conditions were widely anticipated, but the final details were still being worked out last week. Republican commissioner Deborah Taylor Tate, the final commissioner to vote on the issue, withheld her decision until these concessions could be worked out between the FCC and the satellite radio providers.
Source: “FCC Approves XM-Sirius Merger,” The Wall Street Journal, July 26, 2008.