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Dish affiliates will hand back some spectrum licenses after controversy

Dish Network affiliates almost received $3.3 billion in small business discounts from a spectrum auction early this year, only for the FCC to take the discounts away when it became clear the "small business" discounts would go to businesses under Dish's control. But it looks like that wasn't the end. According to The Wall Street Journal, the Dish affiliates have surrendered some spectrum licenses purchased in the auction back to the FCC.

The Dish affiliates won't be going away without anything — they'll still keep about $9.8 billion in licenses they bid for — but will pay penalty on the licenses they won't acquire. In total, according to the Journal, the Dish companies will default on about 200 licenses.

Handing back the spectrum licenses is only the most recent turn in the unfurling controversy over the Dish-backed companies' use of small business accounts. The Dish companies came away as major winners of the spectrum auction, but the bids quickly turned controversial when it was revealed how closely the small businesses were aligned with the massive Dish. Soon after the controversy, the FCC created new rules on how the discounts can be allocated.