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FCC Chair Greenlights Dish's Mobile Network Plans

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Nov 21, 2012, 8:11 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   @zeman_e

Federal Communications Commission chairman Julius Genachowski has proposed that the agency allow Dish Network to build a new wireless network to provide cellular services in the U.S. Dish has been seeking approval for its plan for some time. "If approved, these actions will promote competition, investment and innovation, and advance commission efforts to unleash spectrum for mobile broadband to help meet skyrocketing consumer demand, while unlocking billions of dollars of value to the public," FCC spokesman Neil Grace said. 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. Second, the FCC is requiring that Dish ramp down its power levels so that it doesn't interfere with neighboring spectrum owned by Sprint. "Telling us to lower our power levels cripples our ability to enter the business," said Dish Chairman Charlie Ergen to the Washington Post. "We want to enter the wireless business. We have $6 billion more we want to spend on building out this business. But the FCC could make it extremely risky for us." The full FCC is expected to vote on the proposal before the end of the year.


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