EchoStar allies rally for merger

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Allies are racing to the side of EchoStar Communications Corp.'s Charlie
Ergen as he struggles to head off an expected Federal Communications Commission
vote against the satellite-TV provider's merger with sole competitor DirecTV

Tuesday, both the Small Business Survival Committee and Frontiers for Freedom,
an organization seeking to promote rural business, e-mailed pleas endorsing the
merger to industry trade-magazine editors.

By greatly expanding EchoStar's distribution capacity and eliminating
duplicative TV-channel offerings, the merger "is literally the only hope" rural
communities have of receiving high-speed Internet, wrote Karen Kerrigan, Small
Business Survival Committee chairman.

Also highlighting the merger's potential for bringing high-speed Internet to
rural areas was former U.S. Sen. Malcolm Wallop (R-Wyo.), who chairs Frontiers of
Freedom. "It is wrong to suggest that the merger of these two companies will
create a monopoly. Denying this merger will, in fact, leave the 'no-opoly' that
currently exists for millions of Americans."

Monday, EchoStar asked the FCC to delay a vote on the merger until the
Department of Justice completes its separate review. Company attorneys predicted
that a concession negotiated with the DOJ will assuage FCC concerns about a direct-broadcast satellite