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SBCA chairman resigns over merger

The chairman of the Satellite Broadcasting & Communications Association
resigned Friday in objection to the trade group's pending endorsement of the
EchoStar Communications Corp./DirecTV Inc. deal.

Stan Kozlowski, senior vice president of sales and marketing with the
National Rural Telecommunications Cooperative, stepped down from his SBCA post
just prior to a vote on the merger by the association's executive committee.

Kozlowski urged the SBCA to refrain from taking a position on private business
transactions and called for a vote by secret ballot.

He also called for adjournment of last week's meeting in order to request
outside legal opinion about the legality of taking any position on the proposed

DirecTV's Eddy Hartenstein now chairs the group.

"I felt I had no other option than to step down," Kozlowski said. "I believe
the SBCA is breaking its precedent of not taking positions on private business
matters. The SBCA is charged with representing all segments of the satellite
industry, not just two of its largest members."

The NRTC, a cooperative of more than 1,000 rural utilities delivering
telecommunications to their communities, has opposed the merger and is an
investor in DirecTV.

NRTC members and affiliates provide direct-broadcast satellite equipment and
DirecTV programming services to more than 1.8 million subscribers and worry that
the merger will force their subscribers to obtain programming services through a

The $25.8 billion merger, announced Oct. 29, requires the approval of the
Federal Communications Commission and the Department of