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Executives from EchoStar and DirecTV approached the Federal Communications Commission team reviewing their proposed merger last week, outlining details of what would happen if they combine operations and what benefits the pending transaction could offer to consumers and those eyeing more cable competition.

In their presentation, the companies said they are very close to exhausting their DBS capacity. The introduction of additional content requires displacement of existing programming, or other trade-offs such as sacrificing service quality, they said. The two DBS services also pointed out that they duplicate the vast majority - about 558 channels - of their programming.

The merger would eliminate that duplication and create other efficiencies, the companies said in an ex-parte filing at the FCC detailing the meeting. If that happens, the combined entity would have capacity to provide local channels in all TV markets as well as advanced broadband and interactive services, "thereby providing a real alternative to cable and helping to address the competitive disadvantages currently confronted by the DBS industry," they said.

The companies also talked to commission staff about proposed "super satellites," an idea floated by opponents of the merger who suggested that advanced satellite technology and bigger platforms could alleviate the spectrum crunch now being experienced by the two companies.

DirecTV and EchoStar said the idea is "unrealistic from a technical and economic perspective." They added, "Incorporating all of the various advanced satellite technologies suggested by opponents into a single platform designed for the delivery of video services, even if it were possible, would result in a prohibitively expensive spacecraft with a reduced operational lifetime."

From SkyReport (Used with Permission)
 
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