Citing their own meetings with the FCC, as well as statements made by other parties, U.S. Electronics is stepping up on having "Open Access" as a merger concession. In their FCC Filing today, U.S. Electronics specified several conditions which they feel will bring open access to fruition should the merger be approved. Those conditions include:
- Be barred from directly or indirect engaging in or interfering with the design, manufacture or distribution of satellite radio receivers or other digital devices that can access the satellite radio network.
- Agree to quality control testing by an independent laboratory
- Publish and make available information on the technical requirements and specifications of its network, including reasonably advanced notice of any changes to any qualified and willing partner.
- Not interfere with consumers access to, or their choice of, devices by which to access the network
- Comply with rules and regulations that provide for the compatibility of receivers to ensure that the satellite-radio using public has reasonable and non-discriminatory access to the satellite radio network
- Comply with the FCC's policy that the public has the right to use any device to access and make use of the satellite radio network, consistent with the principles established in the Hush-A-Phone and CarterPhone decisions.
- Be subject to an independent monitor who will ensure compliance with FCC rules and regulations.
U.S. Electronics also promises that they will supplement their filings with details specifications and implementation of an open access condition.
The theory behind open access is compelling, but if implemented, the conditions should be fair across the board. fair to consumers, fair to manufacturers, fair to distributors, and fair to the merged company. The costs borne out of such a condition need to be considered with all of these parties in mind. My question is not about the theory, but who pays for the implementation of it.
I would add that some other conditions need to be considered should the FCC go down the path of open access.
- The device manufacturer should have a fully staffed customer service that is accessible via telephone for consumers to address any problems they might have.
- Any manufacturer or distributor should participate in the costs to verify quality control.
- Manufacturers should be held to timeline standards for getting receivers to market. Delays in getting product to market can cause measurable impacts on the merged company.
There are many things to consider with an open access standard.
Sirius Buzz Radio - Thursdays at 10:30 PM EST
Position - Long Sirius, XM.