DISH has submitted its comments in response to the FCC’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking regarding wireless spectrum licensed by the Colorado-based pay-TV provider.
Last year, DISH invested $3 billion to take control of 40 MHz of spectrum in the 2 GHz band. This spectrum remains largely unused due to the requirements to use the spectrum exclusively for geosynchronous satphone services from bankrupt ICO and TeraStar.
The question before the FCC is whether to change the current rules governing the 2 GHz Mobile-Satellite Service spectrum (pdf) so that it can be more efficiently used to deliver mobile wireless services for data, voice and video applications into the mass market.
“We’re optimistic that the FCC can complete its rulemaking by the end of the summer,” said Tom Cullen, executive vice president of DISH. “Unleashing additional spectrum for wireless broadband is one of the highest stated priorities of the Obama administration and the FCC. We’re prepared to help meet the challenge as soon as reasonable modifications to the rules are approved.”
The FCC published its notice of proposed rulemaking in the Federal Register on April 17, bringing Dish Network’s wireless plans one step closer. The FCC has so far denied the company’s request for a waiver. Instead, the agency has initiated a rule-making process that covers the topic. Initial comments on the proceeding were due May 17, replies are due June 1 and the agency would rule sometime after that.
But Dish Network on Thursday told the FCC that its proposed timetable for Dish’s planned wireless network was unrealistic and carried too harsh a penalty for failing to meet requirements.
Dish proposed that it have four years to reach an initial milestone, instead of the three years proposed by the FCC. The initial phase would reach 60 million people under the Dish proposal, rather than the 30 percent of the U.S. population that the FCC proposed, or roughly 90 million people.
Dish also urged the FCC to adopt more flexible sanctions for failing to meet buildout milestones, “rather than requiring a draconian outcome such as automatic license termination,” the company said in a filing with the regulator.
Spectrum licensed to T-Mobile USA has a 15-year buildout term, and Verizon Wireless and AT&T Inc each have 10 years to cover 75 percent of the population, Dish said.
Consumer advocacy group Public Knowledge suspects that Ergen’s intentions aren’t pure, that its delay is really about a quick flip. It sent its own filing to the FCC (pdf) asking that Dish’s spectrum be loaded down with conditions that would prevent big carriers like AT&T and Verizon Wireless from gobbling up its LTE capacity at wholesale rates.
See Dailywireless: Mr Ergen Goes to Washington, FCC Judgement on Lightsquared: Fail, Sprint Gives Lightsquared 6 Weeks, Dish Clarifies LTE-Advanced Plan, Dish: Show Me the Money!, Dish LTE-Advanced Called “Ollo”, Dish Talks Up Terrestrial LTE, ViaSat-1 Launched, Charlie Ergen’s Spectacular Triple Play, Charlie’s Big Play