A recent federal whistle blower lawsuit against Dish Network and some small business partners claims that these companies and their executives owe billions of dollars to the Federal government. Dish Network said that the lawsuit has no merit and asserted that the Federal government has looked at the claims and has declined to get involved.
The suit was filed back in May 2015 by Vermont National Phone Co., a rural telecom firm in Vermont. However, the lawsuit is unsealed and could be disclosed publicly for the first time now. The lawsuit is the latest change in controversial use of two businesses by Dish Network. These businesses are SNR Wireless LicenseCo LLC and NorthStar Wireless LLC.
These businesses were used by Dish as bidding partners to be eligible for small business discount in one of the Federal Communications Commission auctions of wireless frequencies that are used for internet and mobile phones, in 2014. Dish Network has accumulated unused wireless frequencies since 2008, as Dish CEO, Charlie Ergen plans to pair wireless internet services with the 13.9 million satellite TV and streaming subscribers of the company.
Data shows that the Dish affiliated companies knocked 3.3 billion dollars off the cost of spectrum that Dish Network won at auction. This allowed Dish and their partners to get the spectrum for ten billion dollars, when the spectrum licenses costs around 13.3 billion dollars.
The discount that Dish got provoked public outcry and FCC revoked the discount in August 2015. Dish Network and its partners agreed to give twenty seven percent of the licenses that they won in the auction, and owe five hundred and forty million dollars to FCC to cover the cost of auctioning the licenses returned by Dish.
Dish Network contested the interpretation of FCC claiming that they were transparent with the FCC about their bidding partnerships before the commencement of the auction and that they had received appro9val from FCC before the start of the bidding.
“After fully investigating the allegations in Vermont National’s complaint over the course of almost a year, the Department of Justice has declined to take over the case,” Dish Network said in a statement. “The DOJ’s decision is entirely consistent with the FCC’s conclusion that there had been ‘no showing that SNR and NorthStar attempted to mislead the Commission about their respective relationships with Dish.’”