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Dish Likely to Seek a Wireless Dance Partner

Welcome to today's broadband and cable news roundup.

  • Dish Network LLC (Nasdaq: DISH) is more likely than ever to seek out a wireless broadband partner rather than going it alone, Chairman Charlie Ergen tells The Denver Post. Dish originally sought a waiver that would let it use its Mobile-Satellite Services (MSS) spectrum for terrestrial-only services, but the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) opted to pursue a formal rulemaking, prolonging the process. "The net effect of the delay is that it has become (less likely) that we would be able to build a network from scratch ourselves," he told the paper. "I think we had all our options open if we had gotten it done by the first of the year." Meanwhile, Dish and Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM) are working on a new chip for handsets that can operate in both terrestrial and satellite modes in the 2GHz/AWS-4 bands. (See Dish Chairman Ready to Back Up Wireless Bet .)

  • Elsewhere in Dish-world, the company is preparing a national satellite broadband service using a satellite from corporate cousin, EchoStar Corp. LLC (Nasdaq: SATS), says Bloomberg. The bird in question, EchoStar 17, was launched on July 5 and can support downstream speeds of 15 Mbit/s and about 2 million new Internet customers, Bloomberg added. Dish has already hooked up with ViaSat Inc. (Nasdaq: VSAT) to offer satellite broadband service with speeds of 12 Mbit/s down by 3 Mbit/s up, though there are some significant coverage gaps in the Midwestern U.S. (See Dish, ViaSat Team on Satellite Broadband and ViaSat to Phase Out WildBlue .)

  • Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) says nearly 100,000 families have signed up for Internet Essentials, a US$9.95 per month data service (3 Mbit/s down by 768 kbit/s upstream) for low-income households with school-age children who are eligible for the federally assisted National School Lunch Program. Comcast took the program national last fall. It's a voluntary commitment linked to Comcast's acquisition of NBCUniversal LLC . (See Comcast Goes Big With 'Internet Essentials'.)

  • Silicon & Software Systems Ltd. (S3) is the latest vendor to obtain a license for the Comcast Reference Design Kit (RDK), a pre-integrated software bundle for IP and hybrid QAM/IP set-top boxes and gateway devices. S3 will use the license to help set-top makers integrate and test their implementations of the RDK, which includes the CableLabs tru2way middleware reference implementation. Entropic and Itaas are among vendors that have recently signed on. (See itaas Licences Comcast's RDK, Comcast Puts Entropic Inside Its IPTV Client and Comcast's Set-Top Software Kit .)

    — Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable



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