FCC says Dish can't use $3.3B in small-business credits in this year's airwaves auction

The Federal Communications Commission says Dish Network Corp. can't apply $3.3 billion in small-business credits toward the purchase of airwaves it gained in a government auction.

The government sells spectrum to carriers like AT&T and Verizon so they can add more capacity for wireless Internet. Dish is a satellite TV company that has stocked up on airwaves although it has no cellphone business.

In the latest auction that ended in January, Dish won $10 billion worth of spectrum through two small companies it invested in. The small-business credit saved it $3.3 billion.

The FCC said Monday the two companies aren't eligible for credit.

That means they are on the hook for the rest of the money. They can also appeal.