Two influential Democratic lawmakers Thursday urged FCC Chairman Kevin Martin to protect consumers in its upcoming decision on the proposed merger of the XM and Sirius satellite radio services.
"The commission has a unique role in reviewing proposed mergers because it is expressly directed to consider the broad public interest," wrote House Energy and Commerce Chairman John Dingell and Energy and Commerce Telecommunications and the Internet Subcommittee Chairman Edward Markey, D-Mass.
The lawmakers did not say how the FCC should rule, but they said consumer protections should include price constraints, which the merger partners have agreed to institute, and permitting unaffiliated manufacturers to build devices that can receive the satellite signals.
The lawmakers recommend a prohibition on contract restrictions barring receivers from containing other features, such as high-definition radio chips or MP3 music players.
The Justice Department approved the deal in March.
This article appears in the May 3, 2008, edition of NJ Daily.