The USA’s Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has approved Dish Network’s plan to use 40 MHz of valuable terrestrial spectrum. The FCC also said that the immediately adjacent “H Block” of spectrum, equal to an additional 10 MHz of bandwidth, will now be auctioned off in 2013.
Jeff Blum, Dish Network’s SVP/deputy general counsel, said: “The FCC has removed outdated regulations and granted terrestrial flexibility for most of the AWS-4 band.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. 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.”
However, there could be problems. Dish Network has to use some of its spectrum to provide an interference-free buffer zone for the H Block of spectrum which cuts into the amount of spectrum Dish can actually exploit.
There’s also doubt as to what Dish will actually do with the spectrum. Rumours suggest that the broadcaster might partner with a third-party operator, and Sprint has been talked about. Alternatively Dish Network could simply sell off the spectrum to ever-hungry mobile operators.