Policy Briefs


Washington -- A Senate Judiciary subcommittee is planning a
hearing Wednesday (Jan. 27) that will take a close look at competition between the cable
and direct-broadcast satellite industries.

The Subcommittee on Antitrust, Business Rights and
will focus at first on EchoStar Communications Corp.'s deal to buy a
lucrative DBS license from News Corp. and MCI Communications Corp.

EchoStar chairman and CEO Charles Ergen is expected to
testify. The panel, which has not released a witness list, is expected to take testimony
from cable-industry leaders, as well.

Washington -- EchoStar Communications Corp. has
filed a complaint against Speedvision and Outdoor Life Network,
and it is seeking damages from the cable networks. EchoStar filed a confidential version
of the complaint with the Federal Communications Commission, and it was not expect to
release the public version until after press time, a DBS-industry source said. EchoStar is
alleging that the networks are refusing to sell their programming as required under
federal program-access rules.