I outlined Dish Networks subsidiary Manifest Wireless testing ATSC-MH Mobile DTV transmissions on its channel 56 Block E spectrum in my July 5, 2013 article Dish Considers Expanding ATSC-MH Ch. 56 Mobile TV, noting reports of Channel 56 transmissions on the EchoStar Transmitter List on RabbitEars.info. In a letter to the FCC posted on the ECFS last week, DISH Network Corporation said “DISH shares the Commission’s goals of promoting efficient spectrum use of the Lower 700 MHz band and, as part of an industry consensus on interoperability, DISH is willing to consent to a reduction in power if the Commission takes similar concrete steps to: (i) make corresponding changes to the E Block licensee obligations and rights to coincide with the dramatic change in operating characteristics; and (ii) unlock the more efficient use of spectrum in the AWS-4 band, the H Block, and the proposed AWS-3 bands.”
DISH continues, “The contemplated reduction of the E Block maximum authorized power levels will fundamentally alter network design and deployment strategies, thus imposing substantial additional costs and stranding DISH’s investment to date to commercialize its 700 MHz E Block licenses.”
DISH said that it would bear these burdens if the FCC gives it the regulatory flexibility and certainty that is critical to its ability to successfully deploy a terrestrial broadband network that will depend upon “its ability to fully utilize both its 700 MHz and AWS-4 spectrum and coexist with future adjacent operators in the H-Block and portions of the proposed AWS-3 bands.
Under DISH's proposed agreement, it would consent to reducing the base station ERP of its Lower 700 MHz E Block licenses to 1,000 watts/MHz in urban areas and 2,000 watts/MHz in rural areas. It would not use ATSC-MH. DISH said it currently plans to deploy “an LTE network similar to what 700 MHz Lower A, B, C, and D block operators have deployed today...”
As DISH points out in its letter, affecting these changes will require an extension of its build out dates. DISH proposed at least a 40 percent E Block built out by March 7, 2017 and at least a 70% build out five years later.
Switching to LTE does not mean that DISH would have to give up using the spectrum for TV programming – the eMBMS extension to LTE would allow a “broadcast” like service, but it would require many more transmitters to achieve the same coverage.
As I pointed out in July a DISH mobile TV service using ATSC-MH to offer cable channels would have been a nice complement to the local and network programming from broadcast stations. Without extra services on DISH's E Block spectrum, it will be up to broadcasters to come up with the bandwidth to offer the variety of services viewers want.
For additional information see Mike Dano's article Dish proposal hints at plans to deploy LTE across 700 MHz E Block and AWS-4 holdings at FierceWireless.com.