Pay TV Giants Duke It Out Over New Spectrum


Chuck Dolan and Charlie Ergen continued wield their considerable muscle Tuesday in bidding on spectrum dedicated to a new pay TV/broadband service.

Through 17 rounds, LLC, backed by Ergen’s EchoStar Communications COrp., was the high bidder for licenses in 29 markets, including New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston and Dallas.

DTV Norwich LLC, backed by Dolan’s Cablevision Systems Corp. and former U.K. cable executive George Blumenthal, was high bidder for 46 markets, including Chicago, Philadelphia, Tampa, Fla., and Miami., which seemed to be focusing on the largest markets, outbid DTV Norwich $75.2 million to $37.5 million.

Capitol Broadcasting Co. Inc., which has bought spectrum from the FCC in previous auctions, dropped out of the bidding Tuesday.

The spectrum on sale has been reserved for a land-based distribution system that would require customers to install dish antennas at their homes. The system is envisioned by the government as a competitor to cable and DBS.