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The Podium

Monday, November 19

A Potential Roadblock

By Brad

Last week, a rumor was floating around that Google and Dish were looking to team up in order to build a wireless network. Today, Sara Portlock and Shalini Ramachandran of the Wall Street Journal report the FCC may soon grant Dish the ability to use some of its spectrum holdings to build out a cellular network. There’s a catch, however:

The Federal Communications Commission is close to approving a swath of the satellite airwaves controlled by Dish Network Corp. for use solely on a ground-based cellphone network, FCC officials say. But Dish Chairman Charlie Ergen isn’t likely to be happy.

That’s because the FCC is also seriously considering requiring Mr. Ergen to restrict a slice of his airwaves, or spectrum, as a barrier to protect against interference on a neighboring spectrum band, the officials say. Mr. Ergen in an interview Thursday said such a move “would be a game changer for us,” making his bet to enter the wireless industry “increasingly risky.”

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