TS News - Echostar Returns Fire In Digital TV War

TELE-satellit News, 13 June 1997

Echostar Returns Fire In Digital TV War
  ENGLEWOOD, Colorado, 97/06/13 (TS) -- Echostar, former partner of Rupert
Murdoch in the US digital TV market, has fired back against News Corp.'s
plans to align with Primestar. The company is currently involved in a legal
dispute with News Corp. over the breakdown of the venture and issued the
following strongly worded statement:

  Consumers across the country would object in mass if they understood
Primestar Inc., a proposed comprehensive combination of the five largest
cable companies in the world, including the largest content providers in
the United States, with perhaps the most powerful media mogul.

  It clearly is not in the public interest to give the single piece of real
estate in space which is most capable of fostering effective competition to
cable, to a cable and content cartel of unprecedented size and proportion.

  This proposal, if permitted, would clearly result in even higher cable
television rates and the consumer will continue to be held hostage to the
powerful cable interests.  This alliance will violate the spirit of the
1996 Telecommunications Act and the best intentions of President Clinton
and Congress in passing what was intended to be comprehensive
pro-competitive legislation.  

  The stark contrast with Rupert Murdoch's recent promise to Congress that
he would: "offer consumers a full-fledged, satellite- delivered alternative
to cable" is disturbing, and raises serious questions.

  This transaction is obviously anti-competitive and anti-consumer. We are
confident that the Federal Communications Commission, the Department of
Justice, and the Federal Trade Commission, together with other federal and
state regulators charged with protecting consumers, will reject this
proposed alliance.  

  We trust that our leaders in Washington will not allow the "Big Cable
Operator in the Sky" to deprive American consumers of a competitive choice.

  EchoStar Communications Corporation intends to vigorously oppose this
anti-competitive combination on many levels. EchoStar notes that in its
pending litigation with News Corporation Ltd. ("News Corp.") in U.S.
Federal Court in Denver, it has demanded damages and specific performance
from News Corp. which prohibits News Corp. from completing the transaction
with Primestar Inc.  EchoStar is contractually entitled to use the 28 DBS
frequencies at 110 degrees W.L. which News Corp. proposes to contribute to
Primestar, Inc.

(c)TELE-satellit 1997. All rights reserved.

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