Merger or no merger, I dont know how their competition with cable will really change.
DBS may grab a few more subs in rural areas where locals werent available before, and offer high speed internet possibly there (in rural markets, DBS penetration is already high),
but areas like New Jersey, PA where you have cable-only channels, low DBS penetration, whats a merger of DBS providers going to do to compete with cable? Rates are likely to continue increasing on both cable and satellite.
Most the cable companies (Cablevision, Comcast) are satisfied being local monopolies, and not concerned serving the "rural" areas (North Dakota). Some big cable systems have upgraded to digital cable in the rural areas, but most cable companies would rather have high cable penetration near the cities, and leave the rural areas unserved.
When there is loss of one DBS provider by merger, the consumer in rural market loses out. They'll have option to locals, but most already have a solution for locals already as DBS penetration is already high in some markets.
Vermont for example has the highest DBS penetration but locals arent available. The people in VT must have some solution to get locals, or else would be bound with cable.