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February 19, 1998


Re: Policies and Rules for the Direct Broadcast Service -- Notice of Proposed Rulemaking

The rule making proceeding we initiate today has a laudable goal: "to streamline and simplify the Commission's rules governing the direct broadcast satellite service." Despite its deregulatory tone, however, the Commission herein considers adopting new cross-ownership regulations that would be unnecessary and likely would prove burdensome to consumers and industry. Accordingly, I dissent in part.

There is no need for a general rule that has such extremely limited and distant applicability. We will not be presented DBS cross-ownership issues thousands, hundreds, or even tens of times. By virtue of the limited number of DBS orbital slots, such rules could be applied only a handful of times. Adopting a general rule would require us to predict the future and make hypothetical policy judgments; yet a thorough analysis of specific situations as they arise would take little, if any, additional time. To the extent we consider DBS cross-ownership issues, we should do so only on a case-by-case basis.

In addition, we simply should not consider adopting rules that easily could impose significant burdens on consumers and industry in the context of a rulemaking proceeding that "seeks to streamline and simplify the Commission's rules."

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