Feature Article

October 01, 2012

Financially Troubled LightSquared Wants to Use Federal Spectrum for its LTE Network

LightSquared has asked the FCC for permission to share spectrum now used by the federal government.

The frequencies are now used mostly by weather balloons and weather satellites, according to Mobile & Apps.

The FCC prevented LightSquared's initiative earlier this year – in an initial decision – after GPS manufacturers complained that the company’s signals would interfere with navigation gear, news reports said. Among those concerned about the interference were commercial airlines and the U.S. military. LightSquared is awaiting a final decision from the FCC.

But on Friday, LightSquared filed a new request with the FCC. The company said it would also give up operations in airwaves near those employed by GPS.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) employs most of the frequencies that LightSquared wants to use. LightSquared has wanted to swap spectrum or share frequencies since the FCC suggested it wanted to stop the company’s earlier LTE proposals.

In the latest company proposals, LightSquared would get 30MHz of frequencies on which to operate its LTE network. That is 10MHz less than the first proposal.

LightSquared filed for bankruptcy in May. The company has assets of $4.48 billion and debt of $2.29 billion as of Feb. 29, according to Bloomberg Businessweek.

In a related matter, some Republicans have been scrutinizing the Obama administration’s relationship with LightSquared. For example, U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), a one-time presidential candidate, claimed Obama was demonstrating "crony capitalism.” And Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) claimed the “White House and the FCC catered to LightSquared's well-connected lobbyists,” The Hill reported.

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Edited by Brooke Neuman

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