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Dish stalling LTE-Advanced network rollout until 2016?

updated 03:45 pm EDT, Fri May 18, 2012

Satellite company asks FCC for extension

Dish Network has warned the Federal Communications Commission that it may not be able to meet initial deployment goals for its LTE-Advanced network until 2016 or later. In a filing with the FCC (PDF), the satellite company is asking regulators to modify their official guidelines to accomodate a lengthier buildout schedule.

As part of an S-Band spectrum license proposal, the company is required to deploy its LTE-Advanced network within three years to cover 30 percent of the US population. The company argues that such expectations are unrealistic, as it will take approximately four years to properly develop, test, certify and finally deploy the network after the specifications have been established. The telecommunications standards body 3GPP is not expected to complete the S-Band specifications for LTE-Advanced until December 2012, suggesting that Dish's rollout target will push into 2016 or later.

"A three-year interim milestone is unrealistic for a new mobile broadband service provider and a new band, especially one that lacks a global ecosystem for LTE-Advanced equipment," the company wrote in its filing.

Aside from the request for a time extension, Dish also admits that it does not expect to cover more than 60 million potential customers by the time it reaches its four-year deployment goal. In contrast, the FCC's 30-percent coverage requirement equates to approximately 90 million citizens.

Dish further argues that its own proposal falls in line with the FCC's previous requirements for competitors such as Verizon and AT&T, which are allowed to take up to 10 years to cover 75 percent of the population with 700MHz C Block spectrum in each license area. Beyond the initial milestone, the FCC requires Dish to reach 70 percent coverage within seven years.

The FCC has yet to make a formal decision regarding Dish's proposal. The Commission has pushed for quicker network advancement as skyrocketing usage pushes the country toward a "spectrum crisis," though regulators typically consider industry concerns when implementing new rules. [via Reuters and FierceWireless]

by MacNN Staff



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