FCC Officially Approves Dish's Spectrum Plans
The Federal Communications Commission today voted in favor of Dish Network's request to use its satellite spectrum for a terrestrial cellular wireless network. The plan was first greenlighted by FCC chairman Julius Genachowski last month, but it now has full commission approval. The FCC has, however, placed several conditions on the proposal that may hobble Dish's effectiveness at providing competitive service. First, a new spectrum auction will be required, and some of the airwaves auctioned off will have to be used to build a dedicated first-responder network. The new auction, which the FCC hopes will take place next year, will see the AWS-H Block spectrum sold to interested bidders. The proceeds from the auction will be used to fund the first responder network. Second, the FCC is requiring that Dish ramp down its power levels so that it doesn't interfere with neighboring spectrum owned by Sprint. Dish today said it will "consider its strategic options and the optimal approach to put this spectrum to use for the benefit of consumers."