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A group of independent retailers recently came out publicly against the proposed merger between EchoStar and DirecTV, telling the Federal Communications Commission that the combination will ruin their businesses and give consumers no choices in selecting retail outlets for purchases of equipment and service.

Harriet Winn of Mount Washington, Ky., a retailer and customer of EchoStar's DISH Network, summed up the feelings of a lot of retailers commenting on the merger. "It is strongly thought that EchoStar will slowly eliminate the independent retailer and installer, leaving customers no choice of what to get or whom to get it from," Winn told the FCC.

Satellite TV dish installer Nathan Hogam of Caraway, Ark., told the FCC that contractors like himself will be pushed out of business by a merged company. And DISH Network retailer Darby Laberge of Charlestown, N.H., said the proposed combination shouldn't be allowed to happen since it would create a monopoly.

Todd Humphrey of DBSinstall.com, representing independent retailers, installation contractors and employees, said about 90 percent of the group's members are against the merger, while five percent are unsure and five percent support the deal.

The letters sent this week and last week to the FCC opposing the merger are in contrast to earlier retailer letters supporting the deal.

Those letters of support include David Fields of Southern Star, who wrote in April that without the merger "cable TV will eventually replace satellite TV and there will be no competition." Justin Helmers of Echovision said the merger is a must in order "to allow consumers to be able to have locals available no matter where they live."

EchoStar spokesman Marc Lumpkin said language in many of the opposing letters "points to the work of a group that has a specific business interest in opposing our merger." He added that more than 450 satellite TV retailers have written to the FCC in support of the deal, "far and away exceeding those few who have expressed doubts."

More of the feelings and comments of independent retailers about the merger will appear in future editions of SkyRETAILER.COM. Check out the Web site for the latest news and happenings in the satellite retail world.

From SkyReport (Used with Permission)
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