The hits keep on coming for Dish Network’s 5G plans, with rival DirecTV contacting the FCC with concerns about the impact on satellite TV.
Dish Network is working to roll out its 5G network. Once known almost exclusively for satellite TV, US regulators want Dish to be the nation’s fourth nationwide carrier, replacing Sprint. In order to achieve that, the company is looking to utilize 12GHz spectrum for its 5G network.
Unfortunately, SpaceX has raised concerns about Dish’s use of 12GHz spectrum since it falls in the same range as that used by SpaceX to downlink its Starlink satellites with their corresponding ground base stations. SpaceX has warned that its customers will see outages 74% of the time. OneWeb, SpaceX’s British rival, has backed up those claims, saying Dish’s plans would cause significant disruptions.
DirecTV is now joining the chorus, according to SpaceNews, warning that Dish’s plans would exceed limits designed to protect Direct Broadcast Satellite (DBS) systems by 100 to 100,000x.
“Unlike broadband systems, which can replace lost [data] packets through two-way communications, DBS packets lost to interference result in frozen video screens—and canceled subscriptions,” wrote Stacy Fuller, DirecTV’s senior vice president of external affairs, in a letter to the FCC.
“Accordingly, the Commission should terminate this proceeding and give incumbent satellite operators in the band the certainty they need to continue to invest in developing and delivering advanced services for American consumers.”
Dish has denied SpaceX’s claims, but the growing chorus of objections is bound to raise concerns at the FCC, especially given the agency’s emphasis on closing the digital divide in the US. Starlink is already proving an invaluable part of that effort, lending weight to concerns it raises about interference.