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The National Association of Broadcasters joined forces with the National Rural Telecommunications Cooperative and other organizations in sending a letter to lawmakers outlining their opposition to the pending $26 billion merger between EchoStar and DirecTV.

In their Wednesday letter to members of Congress, the organizations said EchoStar's promise to institute a nationwide pricing plan remains "riddled with uncertainties." The letter also called promises to deliver local TV stations for all 210 DMAs "equally suspect," given that EchoStar has made attempts to overturn must-carry rules for satellite TV.

As for satellite broadband, the letter said a merger between the two companies would "simply create a monopoly in the rapidly growing market for satellite high-speed Internet broadband. Making high-speed Internet accessible to Americans everywhere is simply too important a goal to leave at the mercy of a monopoly," the organizations said.

Joining the NAB and NRTC in the letter were the American Antitrust Institute, the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the American Cable Association, and USAction.

In response, EchoStar said the merged company is willing to commit to national pricing, and it reiterated support for affordable satellite broadband, which it said will become possible with the merger.

As for local stations for all 210 DMAs, EchoStar said local broadcasters "know that the merger will increase their stations' viewership." The company added, "Why does the NAB choose to distort these issues when their local broadcast members are one of the biggest beneficiaries of the EchoStar/Hughes merger?"

From SkyReport (Used with Permission)
 
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