FCC to delve into EchoStar deal

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The proposed merger of Echostar and DirecTV "raises concerns" that will
require close FCC scrutiny, Cable Bureau Chief Ken Ferree said Wednesday.

"At first blush there appear to be serious concentration
issues created by having all the prime [DBS] slots held by one entity," he told
reporters.

Ferree and other FCC officials will meet with Echostar and DirecTV executives Thursday to provide a list of issues than will be tackled in the agency's merger review.

"This will give them a sense of the questions we have so we get a more complete application up front," Ferree said.

The deal apparently would not break any specific FCC
ownership limits, but the agency is required to make sure the transfer of
DirecTV's satellite licenses serves the public interest.

The Justice Department will be conducting a separate review to make sure the deal does not break antitrust laws. - Bill McConnell

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