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FCC votes to walk back system that gave Dish Network billions in small business discounts

The FCC today voted to limit how big businesses receive discounts through the agency's spectrum auctions, after Dish Network controversially received more than $3 billion in breaks last year by going through smaller companies.

In a spectrum auction, the FCC allocates scarce airwaves to businesses, and to ensure that smaller businesses have a fair shot, they've offered "discounts" on the bidding to small business. Dish, in a recent auction, bid with a number of smaller businesses, who received about $3.25 billion in discounts. The new rules for auctions ban carriers from bidding through multiple smaller businesses and cap the discounts small businesses can receive at $150 million.

As The New York Times reports, despite protests over Dish's bids originally coming from the Republican side of the FCC, the two Republican commissioners voted against the new rules, but were outvoted by the three Democratic commissioners. Other auction rules were also under consideration, but have been pushed back to a vote in August.

The FCC has reportedly been looking into whether Dish broke any rules during the auction, but has yet to announce a conclusion.