FCC moves ahead on Dish cellphone network

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Dish had hoped the FCC would grant it a simple waiver, but the agency decided instead to go through a formal rulemaking process to re-designate the spectrum, which could take nine months or longer as FCC engineers examine the proposal.

Setting aside additional spectrum for mobile broadband fits within the FCC's goal of expanding Internet access.

The FCC granted wireless start-up LightSquared a conditional waiver to operate cell towers on satellite spectrum last year, but the agency is now moving to block the planned network after testing showed it could interfere with GPS devices.

FCC officials have said Dish's network is not near GPS frequencies and is unlikely to cause interference problems.