FCC back on merger clock

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The Federal Communications Commission Tuesday restarted the clock that
ticks away the deadline by which the commission has ordered itself to complete
review of the merger between EchoStar Communications Corp. and Hughes
Electronics Corp., parent of DirecTV Inc.

The agency stopped the clock March 6 while it gathered
documents from the parties, but it said the 'applicants have substantially complied
with our request.'

The FCC also found complaints by the National Association of Broadcasters and
the National Rural Telecommunications Cooperative -- both of which oppose the
merger -- 'without merit.'

Both organizations raised several objections about the process by which the
FCC was collecting documents from EchoStar and DirecTV.

With the clock restarted, the FCC is due to complete its
review by Nov. 1.

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