EchoStar allies rally for merger


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