Federal Appeals Court Remands FCC Dismissal of NTCH Challenge to Dish Network AWS-4 Waiver

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A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has issued an order:  (1) denying a petition for review NTCH, Inc. filed with the FCC challenging the FCC’s AWS-4 Order; and (2) vacating an FCC order that dismissed NTCH’s application for review of an earlier Wireless Telecommunications Bureau order granting various Dish Network waivers.  In 2012, the FCC modified Dish AWS-4 Band licenses authorizing the company to develop a terrestrial network supporting wireless broadband services. Later, the Commission “waived” certain technical restrictions on these modified licenses, though it conditioned those waivers on Dish’s commitment to bid a certain sum of money in a public auction for adjacent spectrum in the so-called “H Block.”  Subsequently, the FCC conducted Auction 96 wherein Dish won H Block licenses.  NTCH challenged all three of these decisions. While the court has upheld the FCC’s decision to deny NTCH’s petition for review, because the FCC never reached the merits of NTCH’s challenge of the waivers, that challenge has been remanded back to the Commission for additional investigation or explanation.

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