Dish files patent application for mobile interactive satellite service

Dish Network (NASDAQ: DISH) has applied for a patent that involves a hybrid satellite / terrestrial service capable of delivering interactive video and broadband Internet to consumers in both urban and rural areas, according to a patent application. The filing was first reported by The Donohue Report.

The patent filing describes techniques for reusing frequencies between satellite and terrestrial systems. In addition, it discloses a mechanism for networking satellite and terrestrial networks in which the power levels of the satellite and terrestrial communications are controlled so as to minimize co-channel interference. 

"There is a need for a hybrid communication system to effectively use both satellite and terrestrial networks to provide effective coverage to both urban and rural subscribers," the application states. 

The filing date on the application is Feb. 17, 2016, and it lists inventors David Robert Zufall, who is VP of wireless at Dish and was named a FierceWireless rising star in 2015, as well as Gerard Daniel Mulford, Stefan Bernard Raab, Mariam Aghdasi Surond and Marcus John Le Maitre.

The filing states that as envisioned, data may be transmitted by a satellite and/or terrestrial base transceiver station using advanced antenna technology, such as, MIMO or beamforming. For example, advanced antenna technology can be used to form multiple beams configured to cover a geographical area. 

The filing is noteworthy for a number of reasons. Interestingly, Dish is part of a coalition along with 10 other companies that wants the FCC to take away from low-orbiting satellite internet constellations their priority access to 500 megahertz of Ku-band spectrum. "The 12.2-12.7 GHz band offers 500 MHz of contiguous, underutilized MVDDS spectrum that is ideally suited for 5G deployments," the coalition said in a June 7 filing.

"A critical element of the Coalition's vision for viable 5G services in the 12.2-12.7 GHz band is its proposal to eliminate or designate as secondary the unused NGSO FSS allocation at 12.2-12.7 GHz and make corresponding changes to Parts 25 and 101 of the rules, while maintaining the NGSO allocation in the adjacent 11.7-12.2 GHz band," the MVDDS coalition said.

SpaceX and satellite fleet operator Intelsat, a OneWeb investor and partner, immediately filed separate opposition papers to the FCC, arguing that nongeostationary-orbit (NGSO) constellations are very much alive, as Space News reports.

SpaceX – the company founded by business magnate Elon Musk -- said it opposes the MVDDS Coalition's request that the FCC eliminate or materially weaken the co-primary status and accompanying protections afforded to non-geostationary orbit (NGSO) Fixed Satellite Service (FSS) operations in the 12.2-12.7 GHz portion of the Ku-band. "The Petition comes at precisely the wrong time, given the ongoing, active investment and technology developments in delivery of NGSO FSS service at 12.2-12.7 GHz," the company said. "In fact, the premise of the MVDDS Coalition request is based on a fundamental misunderstanding and misstatement of the current NGSO environment and further fails to recognize the significant benefits that soon-to-be-deployed NGSO FSS offerings will provide, augmenting high-speed, low-cost broadband deployment and complementing 5G terrestrial services at very low latencies."

WorldVu Satellites Limited, doing business as OneWeb -- whose directors include Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) Executive Chairman Paul Jacobs, the Virgin Group founder Richard Branson and OneWeb founder Greg Wyler -- points out that the MVDDS coalition is asking the FCC to re-examine long-settled technical limits in the 12.2-12.7 GHz band so that it can offer 2-way mobile broadband services instead of 1-way fixed service as currently permitted.

OneWeb on April 28, 2016, filed an FCC application seeking access to the U.S. market for its planned NGSO satellite system to use these frequencies. OneWeb says its constellation of 720 low earth orbit satellites will provide high-speed, affordable broadband connectivity to anyone, anywhere, helping to serve the unconnected or underserved.

For more:
- see this Donahue Report article
- see this patent form
- see this Space News article

Related articles:
AT&T, T-Mobile fire back at Dish-led effort to change MVDDS rules
Dish, partners in MVDDS coalition petition to get 12.2-12.7 GHz band into 5G realm
Dish's Ergen: Our spectrum could be used for 5G, but we're unlikely to build out new network