XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc. has received a federal patent on technology
that allows it to target satellite-delivered content to specific regions, the
National Association of Broadcasters said Monday.
In a letter to Federal Communications Commission chairman Michael Powell,
three FCC commissioners and three bureau chiefs, NAB general counsel Jack
Goodman urged the commission to disallow XM from using this patent to deliver
'While XM was telling the commission it had no plans to use repeaters other
than to fill gaps, it was actively developing technology specifically intended
to use repeaters to provide locally differentiated material,' Goodman wrote.
NAB president Eddie Fritts said the revelation shows that the FCC must 'put a
halt to this ruse of a terrestrial-repeater network.'
XM has been mounting hundreds of terrestrial-radio repeaters all over the
country, saying they are needed to fill gaps in its satellite-delivered
digital-radio service and nothing more.
Still, the NAB has been asking the agency to put rules in place that
specifically forbid XM from transmitting any local radio programming.
On Feb. 12, the federal government approved a patent for XM that would allow
the company to insert a code into some of its satellite-radio streams, alerting
the receiver to pick up and transmit local content. A copy of the patent was
included in the NAB's filing to the FCC.
XM was unavailable to comment by press time Monday.