Home » Competition »LightSquared »Public Policy & Gov't »Video »Wireless Broadband » Currently Reading:

LightSquared Sunk by FCC; Shared Spectrum Interference to GPS Devices Cited

Phillip Dampier February 15, 2012 Competition, LightSquared, Public Policy & Gov't, Video, Wireless Broadband No Comments

A billionaire who invested enormous sums to purchase airwaves for a new national wireless broadband network learned Tuesday ruled he cannot use them to launch LightSquared.

The Federal Communications Commission said yesterday Philip Falcone’s vision for competitive wireless service cannot go forward on the frequencies he acquired because tests show they create significant interference to other nearby spectrum users, especially GPS.

Falcone’s hedge fund poured nearly $3 billion into LightSquared, which the company still claims would not create significant problems for GPS users including aircraft, cars, and ships.

Falcone

But when tests were conducted in early 2011, significant interference problems were reported, some that could jeopardize the safety of American air travel.  The FCC decided it preferred to be safe instead of sorry.

The announcement by the FCC calls into question the future of the company and the value of its airwave assets, which are now likely worth a fraction of the price paid.

The company’s agreements with at least 30 wholesale customers are also at risk, and one of its largest partners, Sprint-Nextel, has spent the last few months distancing itself from the project, anticipating the decision the FCC announced yesterday.

The rejection has upset the FCC’s plans to increase wireless competition for AT&T and Verizon, which dominate American wireless.  The agency hoped the spectrum LightSquared obtained would open the doors to a new national player, but that appears unlikely for now.

LightSquared executives said in October they would sue the FCC in court if the agency blocked their network from operating.

The only new player on the horizon may be Dish Network, which earlier acquired wireless spectrum from two bankrupt companies, and now seeks to use them as mobile phone spectrum.  Separately, Clearwire is working with Sprint to construct a new national 4G network, while still operating Clear’s existing WiMAX 4G service.

CNBC discusses LightSquared’s new troubles and where the company can go from here.  (3 minutes)

Search This Site:

Contributions:

Recent Comments:

  • Josh: Wow, great article! I'm feeling nostalgic, and kind of weirded out by VHS going away, and the realization we're (once again) likely to lose a giganti...
  • Jeno: My family and I had Verizon for years, and it was just fine, no problem. It seems almost as SOON as Frontier came into the picture, our internet was ...
  • Sharon: I too have gotten taken by Verizon, and they are continually trying to add more costs to my plan; daily. This number did call today, showing as a Ver...
  • Josh: I need PBS and The CW...I can't believe those aren't on here! I'd want BBC America too. I'd really want a much longer DVR too...28 days isn't good...
  • Len: I have a 25MB/s CenturyLink connection (internet only) that costs $83 / month. I have a "discount" that brings it down to $53. These guys at Century...
  • Josh: Having to pay to get your bill is just an hilarious low :-D And I'm sorry about those people :-( Somehow I doubt they're not needed......
  • Len: 100 MB/s....... For ONLY 300 Euros a month! OK, sarcasm here, but you see what I'm getting at. MB/s is only part of it. It makes no difference...
  • Mike D.: There are giant delicious pies being feasted upon and Comcast isn't able to gorge themselves. That will end soon, and unless customers drop them like ...
  • Josh: Glad you mentioned that. Yeah, I'm nowhere near Chicago and am affected....
  • BobInIllinois: Just a note to explain what Comcast means by the "Chicago Region". It is a Comcast regional market designation for more territory than just the Chica...
  • Josh: This is just an excuse to raise bills by at least $50/month (or more, if you go over without realizing you have to *CALL* to add this $50/month fee). ...
  • 7879878: And why isnt the FCC getting Involved? The fact there is NO OPT OUT and a $35+ option to get back what you had before should be a huge red flag to an...

Your Account: