FCC approves Dish plans for new cellular network

US regulator FCC has approved a plan to allow Dish Networks to use its satellite airwaves to build a new cellular network.

The approval comes as welcome news for the US industry, in a move that potentially adds new capacity to the nation’s congested airwaves.

FCC spokeswoman Tammy Sun said the move will be highly beneficial for consumer demand. “These actions will help meet skyrocketing consumer demand and promote private investment, innovation and competition while unlocking billions of dollars worth of value.”

Dish will be required to restrict parts of its airwaves to avoid interference, and it will be expected to build out at least 70% of the network within the next six years.

The FCC is “committed to the final action” of freeing up the particular satellite spectrum for mobile use, said chairman Julius Genachowski in a hearing.

Dish is a satellite provider and needed FCC approval to build the mobile network that accommodated cellular chips, not satellite. The rule change will allow for Dish to use the airwaves to construct a ground-based cellular network.

Dish has been aggressively lobbying against the FCC to allow satellite airwaves to be used for mobile.

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