FCC Drills Into Dish Spectrum Bid

WASHINGTON — Federal Communications Commission chairman Tom Wheeler has signaled the agency is going over Dish Network’s AWS-3 auction bids with a fine-toothed comb.

Wheeler did not identify Dish by name. Neither did Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), whose letter Wheeler responded to with the assurance the agency was drilling down on the bidders in its post-auction review, as it looks toward the next broadcast incentive auction. But the subtext was clear.

Dish’s participation in the ASW-3 auction came via two companies in which it holds a majority interest and which applied for $3 billion in bidding credits as small business DEs (designated entities).

“I assure you that we take seriously concerns that parties may seek to capitalize on our rules in order to receive benefits intended for small businesses or to game the auction process,” Wheeler wrote to Pallone.

“Dish’s investments in two [designated entities] in the AWS-3 auction ensured that more parties, not fewer, could participate in the long-term spectrum economy,” the Englewood, Colo.-based company told the FCC last month in a meeting with officials.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.