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May 18, 2012
Public Interest Groups Ask Conditions on $6 Billion Spectrum Award
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) should require DISH Network Corp. to meet certain conditions if the Commission awards the company spectrum worth between $4 billion and $6 billion, three public-interest groups said in a May 17 filing.
At issue is the use of spectrum normally designated for satellite use, which would be transferred to DISH for use in land-based broadband services. The Commission has proposed to award the spectrum without competitive bidding.
New America Foundation, Public Knowledge and Consumers Union told the Commission said the conditions they proposed are “a small price to pay for a $4 to $6 billion public subsidy.”
The filing is here.
The four conditions the groups proposed are: 1) Half of the capacity should be available for open wholesale leasing or roaming by other carriers at non-discriminatory rates. 2) The FCC has to approve any deal that makes more than 25 percent of the data-traffic capacity available to any single carrier. 3) Parties other than DISH should be allowed to make use of unused spectrum until DISH actually deploys service. 4) The FCC should impose “unjust enrichment penalties” if DISH sells the spectrum to either AT&T or Verizon. The filing argued: “While permitting a lucky incumbent to spin regulatory straw into gold may increase the total amount of spectrum available for mobile data services, the transfer of AWS-4 licenses to the emerging wireless duopoly would be worse than the status quo for consumers, competitors and innovators.”
This release is linked here.