May 25, 2010 is only two weeks away, and Sirius XM Radio has a lot on their plate for that day. The company is actually fighting on two fronts. One front deals with the WCS Spectrum and potential interference. The other deals with 4% of Sirius XM's spectrum which the company had agreed to lease to outside interests for minority programming.
The WCS issue has been a thorn in Sirius XM's side for many years. At one point a few years ago XM Satellite Radio had even agreed to acquire the spectrum, but the deal dissolved. At stake is potential interference in Sirius XM's spectrum that could impact the quality of listening for Sirius XM. The company must deal with this issue on May 20th.
The 4% spectrum set aside is the other issue Sirius XM is dealing with. One would think that Sirius XM could simply hand over the 4% to the FCC, and let the agency determine the qualified entities, which could then sign long term leases with Sirius XM. However, this is the government, and nothing moves quickly or easily when the government is involved. Sirius XM seems destined to be a part of and virtually married to the process, however long it may take. Many entities have stepped up with a willingness to work with Sirius XM, but the debate over what entities are "deserving" is central to the debate. Sirius XM would have likely preferred that the FCC handle defining qualified entities, but clearly the FCC is not letting Sirius XM off of the hook.
As Sirius XM has been meeting with FCC commissioners on the WCS issue, they have also been meeting with these same commissioners on the 4% spectrum set-aside. Sirius XM is trying their best to keep the issues separate, but it appears that the FCC is moving toward making the company deal with both issues in the same time frame.
Position - Long Sirius XM Radio