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December 12, 2012

US FCC approves Dish’s plan to use satellite airwaves for new cellular network

Dish has to expand about 70% of the new network within six years

By CBR Staff Writer

The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has approved a plan that allows Dish Network to deploy its satellite airwaves to create a new cellular network for land-based mobile broadband, including 4G LTE, supporting the aim of setting free 500MHz of spectrum for broadband by 2020.

FCC Communications director Tammy Sun said that the move will assist in meeting skyrocketing consumer demand and encourage private investment, innovation, and competition, while unlocking billions of dollars of value.

"We accomplished this by removing regulatory barriers that limited this spectrum to satellite use," Sun said.

"Carefully balanced technical requirements will unlock tremendous value in both the AWS-4 band and the 10 MHz H Block, which Congress directed us to auction."

Following the move, the satellite-TV provider has to dedicate a part of its spectrum to avoid interference with other airwaves and would also have to expand about 70% of the new network within six years.

Dish Network senior vice president and deputy general counsel Jeff Blum said that the agency has removed outdated regulations and granted terrestrial flexibility for most of the AWS-4 band.

"We appreciate the hard work and focus of the FCC and its staff throughout this process.

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"The Commission has taken an important step toward facilitating wireless competition and innovation, and fulfilling the goals of the National Broadband Plan.

"Following a more thorough review of the order and its technical details, DISH will consider its strategic options and the optimal approach to put this spectrum to use for the benefit of consumers."

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