FCC hearing EchoStar over the Adelphia deal

Echo urges a la carte

Satcaster EchoStar has told the FCC that it should approve the pro-posed Time Warner/Comcast acquisi-tion of bankrupt cabler Adelphia only if regulators require the two companies to make their programming available to any other distributor on an a la carte basis and at a stand-alone price.

EchoStar in turn pledged to make a la carte programming available to its customers.

Big cablers have historically op-posed anything but packaged pro-gramming and pricing, relenting only recently to demands that family tiers be offered. EchoStar hopes to appeal to FCC chairman Kevin J. Martin’s stated preference for a la carte offerings.

Satcaster has opposed the acquisi-tion in ex parte filings with the Federal Communications Commission, which is still weighing whether to approve the deal. EchoStar proposed conditions for approval in its latest filing, submitted Monday to the FCC.

With the commission split evenly between Republicans and Democrats, it remains unclear when Martin will seek a vote on approval.

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