Back in July, the Federal Communications Commission approved the merger of two satellite radio giants XM and Sirius Satellite Radio.
Some critics were concerned that the merger of the two companies – Sirius XM – would result in abuse of the public digital airwaves. The FCC shared some of these concerns and mandated that Sirius XM voluntarily commit to temporarily capping prices, wider variety of programming packages and not to restrict technological production of digital receivers.
As part of that agreement, the merged companies will also be providing 4 percent of full-time audio channels to "Qualified Entities." In other words, XM and Sirius will open what is currently six audio channels to minority owned companies. The details of how licenses will be transferred to such companies was left undefined, and now the FCC is seeking public comments on how best to allow these third parties to access the digital airwaves.
Among the decision to made include whether there should be a single minority lessee or multiple lessees; how airwave channel capacity should be divided among the lessee or lessees; orwhether the now merged Sirius XM should be involved in the selection process.
Comments must be received by the FCC by May 29, 2009. For information on submitting comments, as well as this case, visit www.fcc.gov.