Feb 2 (Reuters) - A member of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is objecting to Dish Network Corp’s claim on more than $3 billion in discounts aimed at small business in the government’s auction of wireless licenses, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Commissioner Ajit Pai of the five-member FCC plans to ask FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler on Monday to investigate the award, saying that giving such a lucrative break to a company as large as Dish "makes a mockery" of the small-business discount program, the report said, citing a statement to be released and reviewed by the Journal. (on.wsj.com/1zM0Zse)
In a relatively common process for FCC auctions, Dish and partners invested in separate companies with little to no revenue that can receive a 25 percent discount in auction bidding.
The companies spent $13.3 billion at the auction but provisionally received a $3.3 billion discount. The government gives the discounts with the goal of helping new entrants to the industry better compete with incumbents.
If upheld, the discounts will reduce Dish’s bill in the auction to about $10 billion, the newspaper said.
Pai has been raising concerns that the bidding credits could be abused by large companies and has urged the commission to close “loopholes that allow big businesses to rip off the American people to the tune of billions of dollars,” the report said.
Reuters could not immediately reach Pai and representatives at Dish Network for comments outside regular U.S. business hours. (Reporting by Luke Koshi in Bengaluru; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier)