Dish Pitches Smaller Spectrum Portion

Dish Pitches Smaller Spectrum Portion

WASHINGTON — Dish Network said it would give up what amounts to 25% of its wireless spectrum for assurances it could use the rest ASAP.

According to a filing with the Federal Communications Commission, the satellite operator has told the FCC that it is willing to accept an FCC proposal to set aside 5 MHz of its 20 MHZ of satellite spectrum as a guard band, if the FCC will let it use the remaining spectrum as swiftly and freely as possible.

According to the filing, Dish chairman Charlie Ergen spoke with all of the FCC members and several staffers, either in person or via telephone, two weeks ago.

Ergen would like to use Dish’s spectrum to create a 4G wireless broadband service to compete with existing Internetservice providers, something the FCC promotes. He has argued that a 5-MHZ guard band requirement would wreak havoc with his business plan.

But according to the filing, Dish is ready to accept the guard band, which is meant to protect an adjacent spectrum band (the H block) from interference. The FCC intends to auction the H block off to wireless-broadband providers.

“Recognizing that the Commission desires to retain flexibility in the future use of the H Block, Dish offered to voluntarily designate the lowest 5 MHz of its uplink spectrum (2000-2005 MHz) as an internal terrestrial guard band, provided that safeguards are adopted to ensure that the remaining 15 MHz of its uplink spectrum (2005- 2020 MHz) can be utilized as fully and as quickly as possible for mobile broadband,” the satellite-TV provider said.

At press time, only commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel had voted to approve the original proposal, so she would have to sign off on any change.

She could have the chance to do that publicly. FCC chairman Julius Genachowski has amended the agenda for the Dec. 12 open meeting to include a vote on the Dish and H Block items, though theoretically it could be voted on earlier.