Pegasus Will Fly Solo

To the Editor:
Ted Hearn's story concerning the proposed EchoStar Communications Corp.-DirecTV Inc. merger ["Pegasus: Contract Bars Post-Merger Competition," Feb. 18] correctly notes that Pegasus vigorously opposes this merger because of the manifest anti-competitive effects it would produce for consumers, particularly those in rural areas.

It also reports that Pegasus, under its contract with the National Rural Telecommunications Cooperative, has the exclusive right to distribute DirecTV service in its territory. While I may have indicated that our exclusive contractual rights might lead EchoStar to seek, among other options, a transaction with NRTC and Pegasus — in the unlikely event that the merger survives review by the Federal Communications Commission and the U.S. Department of Justice — I made clear that Pegasus does not believe that the merger should or will be approved. To set the record straight, Pegasus is not for sale.

Pegasus continues to believe, for the many reasons set forth in the "Petition to Deny" that we filed with the FCC on Feb. 4, that the merger of EchoStar and DirecTV is contrary to the public interest and should not be approved.

Howard Verlin
Executive Vice President
Pegasus Communications Corp.