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Ibiquity: What About Exclusivity Arrangements?

Three Democratic senators urge the FCC to require HD Radio in post-merger satellite receivers, but Struble has further concerns.

Several Democratic senators wrote the commission in support of mandating HD-R receivers in future satellite radios should the FCC approve the XM/Sirius merger.

Ibiquity Digital President Bob Struble agreed with what the lawmakers said, and added that such a condition still wouldn’t quite solve the disparity that exists between satellite and HD Radio.

“Their proposal does not eliminate the many existing exclusivity arrangements that XM and Sirius currently have. And it fails to address many of the technical issues that would bar the inclusion of HD Radio technology in devices and would create numerous financial relationships the merged company could use to block competition,” according to Struble.

He’s hoping the commission will address these issues.

In the letter to Chairman Martin, Sens. Ben Cardin of Maryland, John Kerry of Massachusetts and Claire McCaskill of Missouri stressed that “the commission needs to ensure that device manufacturers are required to integrate HD Radio receivers into all satellite radio receivers. … The required integration of HD Radio capabilities in these new satellite receivers is an essential check against the merged entity using its monopoly power to stifle a promising new free, over-the-air radio technology.”

The timing of an FCC decision on the merger, and what conditions each commissioner might favor, remain up in the air.

Ibiquity has taken no position on the merger but has lobbied for mandatory HD Radio capability in any new interoperable sat rad receivers.