Dish cautious on FCC chairman’s spectrum ‘approval’; FCC consults on revised LightSquared plan

22 Nov 2012

US satellite operator Dish Network has inched closer to winning regulatory approval to launch 4G mobile broadband services, after the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Julius Genachowski, aired a proposal to allow Dish to use a 50MHz block of ‘AWS-4’ satellite wireless spectrum for terrestrial services based on Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology, the Financial Times reported, quoting an FCC spokesman. However, the proposal contains a condition setting power emission constraints in the AWS-4 band to protect the adjacent ‘H’ block of spectrum that the FCC plans to auction next year, and Dish responded with caution to the FCC chairman’s disclosure, saying in a statement that ‘[the] proposal to lower our power and emissions levels could cripple our ability to enter the [LTE] business.’ Genachowski’s proposal is expected to be voted on by fellow commissioners by the end of this year.

In related news, the FCC has issued a public notice seeking comments on financially-troubled would-be mobile broadband operator LightSquared’s latest proposals to deploy an LTE network. Having previously had its LTE plans disallowed by the FCC on the basis that its planned usage of a portion of ‘L Band’ 1500MHz spectrum interfered with GPS navigation services, LightSquared has submitted a new proposal to share spectrum currently allocated to National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather balloons in return for handing back a 10MHz block directly adjacent to GPS frequencies, FierceWireless reports. Under the proposal LightSquared’s LTE downlink spectrum would combine its existing satellite bandwidth in the 1670MHz-1675MHz band with the 1675MHz-1680MHz band currently used by the NOAA, which it would utilise on a non-exclusive basis, while another existing pair of 1600MHz satellite bands totalling 20MHz would be used for uplink. In its public notice, the FCC said petitions to deny LightSquared’s proposal are due 17 December, oppositions are due 4 January, and reply comments are due 11 January.