In an ex parte filing with the FCC yesterday, Public Knowledge recommended that the FCC not reduce the power approved for Dish’s uplink spectrum and instead impose higher Out of Band Emission (OOBE) limits on the H-block, a chunk of spectrum in which Sprint has expressed interest.
"To the extent Dish uses the higher power level – subject to the stricter OOBE limits set elsewhere in the order – it does so subject to the risk of interference from the eventual H-block licensee," wrote Harold Feld, senior vice president of Public Knowledge, in the filing.
Feld goes on to say that the approach would allow Dish to use the already approved 3GPP standard (subject to the stricter OOBE limits), whereas adjustment of the power levels would require modification of the approved standard.
"It also will set a precedent for greater flexibility for interference mitigation when repurposing broadcasting spectrum by allowing a licensee (Dish) to voluntarily accept a risk of interference in exchange for higher power," Feld wrote. "Such an approach is also consistent with the reality that users are increasingly engaged in upload activity and not merely download activity as cloud storage becomes more common."
Sprint has repeatedly petitioned the FCC to shift Dish Network's AWS-4 band up 5 MHz from 2000-2020 MHz to 2005-2025 MHz so adjacent H-block PCS spectrum can be used for LTE. The carrier claims that without the shift, it would probably not be interested in bidding on the spectrum in an auction.
Representatives from the Public Interest Spectrum Coalition (PISC), of which Public Knowledge is a member, said in a filing earlier this week that changes to the H-block would be a mistake.
"The benefits of enhancing the value of the adjoining 5 MHz of H Band spectrum at 1995-2000 MHz, for the purpose of a future auction, appear remote and hypothetical in comparison to the immediate delay and possible loss of a market entrant," wrote Michael Calabrese of the New America Foundation in the filing.
PISC noted that although Congress has mandated an H-block auction, designing service rules to maximize auction revenue appears to violate at least the spirit of Section 309’s maxim that auction revenue should be secondary to broader public interest considerations.
In its own filing with the FCC last week, Dish reiterated its position that should the FCC decide to side with Sprint and alter the H Band, Dish's "entire wireless venture would be jeopardized."
A decision by the FCC to revise Band 23, Dish argued, would reset the process already completed by the 3GPP, which recently granted Dish technical specs for its AWS-4 spectrum.
Dish argued that Sprint’s assurance that a maintenance change to Band 23 is an “expeditious” process is not credible.
"Sprint itself was able to challenge the completion of Band 23 for more than a year by objecting to a maintenance change and subsequently delaying Band 23 implementation," Dish wrote in the filing. "Among other things, 3GPP participants would be able to challenge the revisions and cause delay by seeking further technical studies, on top of the ordinary work that 3GPP would need to undertake to change the band."