Washington

House Releases LightSquared Documents

Email exchanges were subject of September hearing on FCC handling of waiver request 10/16/2012 02:31:25 PM Eastern

The House Energy and Commerce Committee has released
documents, including email exchanges, it collected from the FCC as part of the
committee's investigation of LightSquared.

The FCC granted LightSquared a waiver of its rules so that
the company could use its satellite spectrum for a terrestrial, wholesale
wireless broadband service in competition to AT&T, Verizon and others. But
the FCC eventually suspended that waiver over so-far unresolved GPS
interference issues affecting navigation, defense and other sectors.

The
documents
were the subject of a Sept. 21 hearing on the waiver process at
which FCC staffers got tough questioning but no smoking guns from the FCC
documents were proffered.

Republicans were concerned about short comment periods on
some of the LightSquared decisions, and that the government might be setting a
precedent that invoking public safety would unnecessarily foreclose spectrum
debates going forward.

One of the email exchanges in the just-released documents is
between officials in the Wireless and International bureaus talking about
whether a three-day extension rather than a requested 7-day extension on one
deadline would appear like the FCC was "ramming this through" on
behalf of LightSquared, and that granting the full 7-day extension for comment,
as CTIA: The Wireless Association had requested, would save the FCC from more
criticism.

The FCC ultimately decided on three days in order to meet
its timetable for release of an order allowing LightSquared to use its
satellite spectrum for terrestrial service.

 

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