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During the past few months, a number of state governors have written Federal Communications Commission Chairman Michael Powell and Attorney General John Ashcroft endorsing the proposed $26 billion merger between EchoStar and DirecTV.

The general theme in the letters suggest that the merger, which needs approval from the FCC and the Justice Department's antitrust division, would deliver much-needed competition to cable. "Creation of a new satellite company with the size and technology to match cable TV's offerings in programming choices and high-speed Internet access would benefit our state's consumers and serve as a healthy competitive stimulus for the pay-TV market," said Louisiana Gov. Mike Foster.

The proposed merger also won support from Bill Owens, governor of Colorado, which is the home state for EchoStar. In a separate letter, Owens said a merged company "has the potential to help bridge the so-called 'digital divide' between urban and rural residents. The combined company will be able to provide much-needed high-speed satellite Internet and broadband services to rural America."

Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Almond said antitrust issues raised by merger opponents "should be carefully considered. The cable industry, however, has a monopoly presence in many areas."

In addition to the three governors, Gov. Mike Huckabee of Arkansas, Gov. William Janklow of South Dakota, Gov. Frank Keating of Oklahoma and Gov. Gary Johnson of New Mexico wrote similar letters of support for the merger

From SkyReport (Used with permission)
 
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