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The Competitive Carriers Association is warning the proposed merger of Sinclair Broadcasting and Tribune Media could throw the Federal Communication Commission’s 39-month spectrum repacking plan completely “off the rails.”

In a Monday morning press call, CCA SVP of Legislative Affairs Tim Donovan noted that delays from Sinclair-owned stations could impact the entire repack schedule, as “even non-Sinclair broadcast stations may be delayed due to hold out issues related to other stations.”

While Sinclair has not commented specifically on slowing down the repack process, Donovan pointed out the company has backed actions to “obstruct the repack process at every procedural step to date, and we expect these efforts to impede a timely process.”

Such delays would harm the regional and rural carriers CCA represents, he said, which are depending on a swift and smooth repacking process to put to use the spectrum they won in the recent FCC incentive auction.

CCA backed up Donovan’s comments in writing on Monday, filing a Petition to Deny Sinclair and Tribune’s merger request with the FCC. The group said denial of the transaction would “refute Sinclair’s efforts to ascertain an unacceptable amount of leverage over wireless carriers; inject delay and uncertainty into the post-incentive auction transition process; and undermine the deployment of broadband services in rural markets, jobs, education, healthcare, and the ability of the United States to compete in a global economy.”

“Not often does a broadcast transaction have a direct detrimental impact on wireless carriers and their consumers. This transaction is one of the exceptions and therefore, I strongly encourage the Commission to deny the proposed Tribune/Sinclair transaction,” CCA CEO Steven Berry commented.

CCA isn’t alone in its concerns.

Cable and satellite interests including the American Cable Association (ACA) and Dish Network have also spoken out against the deal.

On Monday’s press call, ACA CEO Matthew Polka said the proposed deal will stifle local and independent media voices and raise prices for consumers because of higher rates the combined company would be able to demand from distributors. Like CCA, Polka indicated the ACA is filing a petition asking the FCC to deny the deal on the basis that it would violate legal caps on audience size and harm the public.

As put by Michael Copps, former FCC commissioner and special adviser to Common Cause, “the deal should’ve been dead on arrival.”

More from Monday’s press call with cable and wireless interests against the merger here.

Senior Reporter Bevin Fletcher contributed to this report.

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