Public Knowledge has had another meeting with the FCC. This time, the central part of the discussion was on the concessions that Public Knowledge would like to see if the merger were to go through. At this meeting there was no discussion of the Georgetown Partners proposal, which seeks 20% of the spectrum. The focus was on the 5% "set aside" and other considerations that Public Knowledge is seeking:
1. The new company should make available pricing choices such as a-la-carte or tiered programming.
2. The new company should make 5% of its capacity available to non-commercial educational and informational programming over which it has no editorial control
3. The company should agree not to raise prices for its combined programming package (as opposed to each individual company’s current programming package) for three years after the merger is approved.
4. The new company should make the technical specifications of its devices and network open and available to allow device manufacturers to develop, and consumers to use, any device they choose without interference. Pursuant to the commission rules, these devices must be certified by the FCC for receiving signals on the frequencies licensed and subject to a minimum “do-no-harm” requirement.
It is interesting that there has been a shifty away from the 20% that Georgetown wants to the 5% model proposed by Gigi Sohn of Public Knowledge. The Sohn proposal does not involve the forfeiture of assets that the Georgetown proposal has. The Public knowledge proposal simply specifies a number of commercial free channels that will be available on all tiers of programming that the merged company has no editorial control over.
The fact that the Georgetown Proposal was not a subject in the meeting is a positive for merger hopefuls.
Position - Long Sirius, Long XM