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FCC chairman green-lights Dish Network wireless proposal; delays force Dish to seek partners

A chairman of the Federal Communications Commission just publicly backed Dish Network’s proposal to create a wireless service, according to a new report by the Washington Post.

While the FCC still needs to vote on the proposal before the end of the year, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski supports the plan, which requires approval from the agency’s four other commissioners, because it would help increase competition in a wireless market currently dominated by AT&T and Verizon.

Dish Network said the regulatory body has apparently set limits on how it can use the wireless spectrum, however. The agency’s proposal, for instance, requires Dish to use lower power levels to reduce potential interference with neighboring airwaves. Dish said the requirement—which direct competitor Sprint Nextel supported— would limit its network and slow upload speeds.

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“Telling us to lower our power levels cripples our ability to enter the business,” Dish Chairman Charlie Ergen told the Washington Post in a phone interview. “We want to enter the wireless business. We have $6 billion more we want to spend on building out this business. But the FCC could make it extremely risky for us.”

Ergen also said the FCC’s delays have forced Dish to seek partners:

Ergen complained that the FCC has delayed its decision on Dish’s wireless plan by 20 months. If the Englewood, Colo., company had gained approvals earlier, he said, a network could have been built by next year. Now, the company must seek partners and the effort could take until 2015, he said.

9to5Google previously reported that Dish is now hatching partnership plans with Google for 2013.   Google plans to make the wireless service data-only, with voice and SMS only used as VoIP services, likely with Google Voice. Of course, Google already has an ISP foot on the ground with its Fiber rollout on the Stanford Campus and its just-opened Kansas City network.

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