Satellite Radio Systems Stay Worlds Apart

from the no-incentives... dept

The two big “satellite radio” companies, XM and Sirius made a deal with the FCC when they first got started, saying they would build radios that could accept signals from either system. The idea was to provide real competition, and prevent lock-in, by requiring specific hardware for each service (making it costly to switch). However, this compatibility hasn’t gone very far, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to move very fast. Part of the problem is there’s no incentive. When the FCC told them to do this, they provided no timeline or deadlines, and no penalties for non-compliance. In other words, why bother? At this point, I’d say both companies are just struggling to figure out a way to sign up enough subscribers to start paying off their ridiculously large debt loads.

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