Federal Communications Commission officials pressed Dish Network for more details about its plans for its spectrum holdings after the company missed interim construction deadlines.
FCC Wireless Telecommunications Bureau Chief Donald Stockdale, in a letter to Dish attorney Jeffrey Blum, requested updates about the build-out of 53 MHz of low- and mid-band spectrum that is “apparently lying fallow” under the company’s AWS-4, 700 MHz E Block and H Block licenses.
He noted that the missed interim deadlines would force the company to “meet several accelerated final coverage and service construction deadlines,” and that failure to do so would result in termination of the licenses or returning the spectrum to the FCC.
“Please describe the timing of critical milestones leading up to your previously-stated goal of completing deployment by March 2020, including technology selection, vendor(s) selection, equipment selection/acquisition, system engineering, site acquisition, equipment testing, and advertisement of service and deployment to customers,” Stockdale wrote.
Dish faces the 2020 deadline to deploy some of the billions in licenses it acquired in recent years, and co-founder Charlie Ergen this spring outlined a two-step deployment for all spectrum holdings, beginning with the $1 billion construction of a nationwide Internet of Things network.
Ergen told the Wireless Infrastructure Association conference that the company had already ordered radios for the IoT network, would implement cores this summer and expects to begin testing in the fall.
Blum, meanwhile, responded that the company would keep the FCC up to date about its narrowband IoT build-out “as requested.”
“We appreciated the opportunity to discuss with the FCC our progress to meet the build-out milestones,” Blum said in a statement, according to Bloomberg.
Ergen added in his May remarks that the company’s planned second phase, a nationwide 5G network, could cost some $10 billion once those spectrum holdings are cleared in 2020.