Outlying States, Territories Outline Sat Radio Merger Issues

Officials from U.S. states and territories outside the contiguous 48 states wrote Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin Martin this week about the pending satellite radio merger and their complaints about the lack of service to outlying areas.

In the letter, officials asked the FCC to condition a merger between XM and Sirius on a combined satellite radio entity providing service to areas outside the 48 states within two years.

If the FCC approved the satellite radio deal without addressing these concerns, the agency would "perpetuate discrimination against U.S. citizens who reside in remote regions of the nation," the letter stated. "By the same token, however, this case offers the commission an opportunity to strike a blow for consumer rights and civic equality by ensuring that - before 2010 - all American jurisdictions receive satellite radio services on an equal footing."

Officials from Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and the Northern Mariana Islands signed the letter. Also included in the group were Alaska and Hawaii, Guam and American Samoa.