The New York Times reports that the long-running government review of the proposed merger of Sirius Satellite Radio and XM Satellite Radio took an important step forward when the head of the Federal Communications Commission said he would circulate a plan this week to approve the deal. In a statement Kevin J. Martin, chairman of the commission, said that the transaction satisfied the requirement of being "in the public interest" with the conditions that the companies had accepted. Those conditions include a price freeze for subscribers for the next three years and a tiered pricing system that will give customers some flexibility in deciding which channels they want. The companies have also agreed to set aside up to 8% of the channels for noncommercial and minority broadcasters. And they agreed to take steps that would make it possible for more radio manufacturers to sell compatible radios, including equipment that would also play HD radio.