Fri, Jul 13, 2007
Fear Monopoly May Compromise Availability
While consumer and advocacy groups have been making their own
noise about the future of satellite radio, the Aircraft Owners and
Pilots Association is concerned about what a monopoly might mean
for general aviation.
The association let the Federal Communications Commission know
how it felt during a comment period on the proposed XM-Sirius
In its written comments, AOPA said that the new company should
still provide weather service to pilots, maintain reasonable
prices, and allow customers to continue using existing satellite
"It is important to recognize that weather information is only
beneficial if it is affordable to pilots," wrote AOPA President
Phil Boyer. "Based on the XM filing, which indicates that audio
programming content will continue at or below current prices, AOPA
would expect the same assurances for the graphical data used in
aviation. Lower subscription pricing would serve to improve
Satellite weather allows pilots to have nationwide access to
real-time graphical information on the airport or in the air.
Safety information about severe thunderstorms, wind speed and
direction, temperature, current and forecast conditions for
airports, and other climatic indicators is available, in addition
to temporary flight restrictions.
XM satellite weather -- marketed as XM-WX -- is an increasingly
popular option on several general aviation aircraft, with services
also available for marine and ground vehicles. Sirius currently
offers a similar service, geared to the boating community.
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