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Dominion Sky Angel, which offers a 36-channel Christian satellite TV service, recently approached the Federal Communications Commission and the Justice Department about its views on the pending $26 billion merger between EchoStar and DirecTV.

Robert Johnson, founder, president and CEO of Dominion Sky Angel, said the company has not taken any position on the proposed DBS combination. However, he said Wednesday that Dominion would be concerned about any changes the merger would have on equipment, conditional access systems and other services that could impact Sky Angel customers if the deal wins approval.

"We just want to make sure that our customers are treated the same way as other customers that would be impacted by the merger and any of these changes," Johnson said.

Sky Angel, based in Naples, Fla., has spectrum at 61.5 degrees, and uses EchoStar's satellite at the location to deliver its services. The company is separate from EchoStar, but has adopted EchoStar's equipment for reception of its programming.

Johnson said there are Sky Angel customers who also receive EchoStar's DISH Network services.

In a filing detailing the meeting between FCC and Dominion officials, the company said it's "extremely concerned about the prospect of a merged EchoStar/DirecTV entity electing to utilize DirecTV equipment, without providing for the transition of Dominion subscribers' equipment.

"Dominion and its subscribers need to know that they will be treated in like manner on key issues so that access to Dominion's service and the programming of EchoStar as a merged company will continue to be available," the Dominion filing said.

The filing also said Johnson sent a letter to EchoStar Chairman and CEO Charlie Ergen asking how the conditional access system, DISH brand receivers and other related operational matters will be impacted by the proposed merger. The filing said there has been no reply to Johnson's letter.

EchoStar spokesman Marc Lumpkin said any DirecTV or DISH Network customers who would need to get new equipment because of the merger, and if they keep the same programming services, will receive new equipment at no additional cost. He didn't comment further on the Sky Angel concerns.

In a separate development for the merger, the National Conference of Black Mayors urged the FCC to approve the DBS combination, saying it will provide affordable high-speed Internet access and competition to cable.

From SkyReport (Used with Permission)
 

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This is why we should have DBS receivers that aren't locked into 1 provider. Spain is an excelent example. DBS receivers have to have several cam slots so that a receiver may receive service from several providers. E* makes this type of receiver for Spain.

E* doesn't care about SA and turns on SA subs when they "feel like it". SA needs to get their uplink center completed, their satellite up and distance themselves from E*. If E* changes to a different platform they aren't going to switch over SA and it's subs for free. Hopefully for SA one of the receiver manfacturers will continue to make dual access receivers long after the merger (if approved).
 

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I agree with you, bryan27, that SA* ought to distance themselves from E* if at all possible, however I do think SA subscribers ought to be able to continue to receive their current services without penalty. If this means the merged entity provides new equipment so be it.

As small as the customer base of SA* is compared to the current D* or E*, it doesn't seem that it would really add too many more receivers to be upgraded or replaced.

I think it would be a good idea to require future receivers from here on out to receive and integrate channels from all DBS providers into one program guide.

And one more thing - if the post-merger entity doesn't want to provide equipment or services to SA* subs, maybe R/L will? It would give them a chance to market themselves to an installed base that already has a line of sight and a dish at 61.5.
 

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If the merger should occur, maybe Sky Angel can purchase an older satellite like DirecTV one from the merged entity and move it to the 61.5 location, to operate their own transponders. They can also buy or lease some of the older DirecTV uplink facilities. Then, they can provide a need for DirecTV I, II, and III legacy receiver's that can only view one satellite position. They can essentially do their system on the cheap. Charlie would be rid of them and vice versa.
 

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Mike, Charlie could "donate" the receivers and equiptment to Sky Angel which is the Non-Profit arm of Dominion and make a nice tax cut.
 

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If Echostar settles on the DTV system as the survivor I am sure they will have plenty of trade in receivers from the swap out that can be donated or sold cheap to SA. I suspect that this would provide enough receivers to last SA for many years to come. Personally, I think the surviving system will be Nagra/Dish or something totally new.
 
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