According to his prepared testimony, Dish's goal is to "build the most advanced wireless network in the U.S. to compete against well-established incumbents, but we need to begin as soon as possible to have a chance." Dish is waiting for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to approve new rules that will let the company use its spectrum only for terrestrial services. However, Dish is already working with Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM) to develop handsets that would support both terrestrial and satellite links just in case. Still, some view Dish's plan to go it alone on wireless as a bluff, believing that the company is simply posturing in order to raise the value of its spectrum and that it would rather partner with a wireless carrier than take on the burden of building everything itself. (See Qualcomm to Make Dish's Mobile Broadband Chip .)
Ergen's testimony on AutoHop, a feature that automatically skips ads on prime-time broadcast TV programming recorded on the company's new Hopper HD-DVR, should induce some chuckles. As part of his defense of the feature, Ergen will tell the panel that AutoHop is there in part to protect the kiddies. The presence of AutoHop "means that allowing your kids to watch TV doesn't have to mean they have no choice but to see commercials for junk food and alcohol," Ergen's testimony reads. Dish and major TV broadcasters are fighting over AutoHop in the courts. (See Dish, Broadcasters Go to War Over Ad-Zapper .)
Here's a preview of what else will be said at the hearing, based on prepared testimonies. The hearing is expected to focus on competition between the traditional pay-TV industry and emerging over-the-top (OTT) video competition.
Also set to testify Wednesday are Michael O'Leary , senior executive VP of global policy and external affairs at the Motion Picture Association of America ; David Barrett, president and CEO of Hearst Television Inc.; and Gigi Sohn, president and CEO of Public Knowledge . The hearing, set for 10 a.m. ET, can be streamed here.
— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable