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WSNet, a wholesale provider of satellite TV programming based in Texas, approached the Federal Communications Commission with specifics on how the agency could tie concessions to the pending merger between EchoStar and DirecTV, including conditions placed on DBS spectrum.

Last month, WSNet submitted a letter to the FCC saying while it doesn't oppose the $26 billion deal, any merged entity should adhere to certain conditions. One concession could be the forfeiture of some DBS spectrum, something the merging companies have strongly opposed. Once the idea surfaced, the FCC then asked WSNet for details on how to work in the proposed condition.

In a letter sent late Friday to the FCC, WSNet said that if DirecTV and EchoStar merge operations, it could be provided with 24 channels of high-power DBS capacity for its own use on an existing satellite located at any full-CONUS slot. The channels would be provided to WSNet for the provision of wholesale satellite TV services that would then be supplied to rural cable TV systems, retail DBS service providers and other competitive retail multichannel providers, the company said.

While a combined DBS company "is able to improve its ability to compete against the dominant cable companies in the larger markets, this additional satellite capacity will enable WSNet to counter New EchoStar's monopoly in the smaller and rural markets," the company said in its FCC letter.

Both DirecTV and EchoStar have said they need all their DBS spectrum resources to deliver local TV channels across the United States as well as bringing affordable satellite broadband services to consumers. They have voiced opposition to any relinquishing of spectrum.

In addition to WSNet, Cablevision's R/L DBS has approached the FCC on obtaining DBS spectrum if the merger wins approval.

From SkyReport (Used with Permission)
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