Approval brings Sirius to isles
The satellite radio service will use a ground-based device
Sirius Satellite Radio Inc. is coming to Hawaii, but not via satellite.
The Federal Communications Commission has approved what it calls special temporary authority for New York-based Sirius' subscription-only satellite broadcasts to enter Hawaii -- using not satellite technology, but a ground-based repeater, common in terrestrial radio broadcasting.
The FCC's decision, disclosed Friday, grants Sirius 180 days of transmission time. But such authority has been extended repeatedly in other markets, according to Sirius' November request.
Sirius has stated to the FCC that the temporary authority is necessary "to allow it to provide high-quality commercial (satellite digital audio radio service) programming in Alaska and Hawaii," and that the repeaters "will be used to overcome the effects of satellite signal blockage and multipath interference."
Sirius officials could not be reached yesterday to explain how widely available its Hawaii signal would be.
The National Association of Broadcasters had objected to Sirius' application and encouraged its members to oppose approval of the request to operate the single repeater, which will be located in downtown Honolulu.
The repeater will operate at a power of less than 2,000 watts, which Sirius believes will not cause interference with other radio signals, either those used by broadcasters or wireless telecommunications devices, according to its FCC filing.
The company has contracts with several car and truck manufacturers that build receivers into their vehicles.
Subscribers can also listen online, while nonsubscribers can sign up for a three-day free online trial. Competitor and possible future merger partner XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc., based in Washington, D.C., also offers a free online trial and online-only subscriptions.