The Federal Communications Commission is seeking exhaustive data on a range
of sensitive business topics from EchoStar Communications Corp. and DirecTV Inc.
as part of the agency's review of their $25.8 billion merger.
On Feb. 4, the FCC sent the two companies a 10-page document that required
detailed responses on a wide range of business issues.
The FCC, along with the Department of Justice, has to approve the merger.
EchoStar spokesman Marc Lumpkin called the FCC's request a routine matter in
connection with a large merger.
'The companies intend to cooperate in a timely and thorough fashion with the
FCC's request. We are confident that the FCC will find that the merger serves
the public interest,' Lumpkin said.
The commission gave the companies until March 6 to respond.
In a letter from W. Kenneth Ferree, chief of the agency's Cable Services
Bureau, EchoStar and DirecTV were asked to furnish, to the extent possible,
information on the following items, which is not exhaustive:
\u0007 Vivendi Universal S.A.'s investment in EchoStar, including programming
agreements and agreements covering interactive services and set-top boxes
\u0007 Their five top wholesalers and top 20 retailers by units sold in 2001.
\u0007 Subscribership totals for each company over the past four years by ZIP
code, county and designated market area.
\u0007 Pricing plans over the past four years for an array of services, including
programming packages, local TV signals, premium programming, a la carte
programming and broadband services.
\u0007 Detailed cost and revenue breakdowns for both companies over the past four
\u0007 Data from the past four years on broadband service, such as peak, average
and worst-case download speeds.
\u0007 Contract terms that limit a manufacturer from adding high-speed modems and
electronic program guides in consumer equipment.