LightSquared Takes it Right to the FCC, Claiming Violated Rights - The UpStream

LightSquared Takes it Right to the FCC, Claiming Violated Rights

posted Sunday Mar 25, 2012 by Nicholas DiMeo

LightSquared Takes it Right to the FCC, Claiming Violated Rights

Just when you thought you might have heard the last of the whole LightSquared saga, think again. It seems like those guys just won't go down without a fight, although I can't really blame them considering they were shut down by the same regulation committee who told them to build-out in the first place. After the stop-work injunction was sent to LightSquared by the FCC, the company responded, saying they would fight this shortly before Sprint decided to cancel its relationship with them. That must have been the one thing to send LightSquared over the edge.

The privately-funded company has said this week that the FCC rejection is a violation of LightSquared's rights as a company and that it is now subjected to multi-billion dollar losses and useless spectrum. They also cite the negated T-Mobile acquisition by AT&T and have said that if permanently shut down, it would violate "public interest by eliminating a potential mobile competitor that would sell network capacity" potentially to anybody who would want it.

What will happen now? We have the details after the break.

LightSquared was given a date by the FCC to reach 260 million US residents with its 4G LTE network by 2015, however with the inability to keep moving forward, clearly they are not going to hit that goal. The company sent over its comments to the FCC this week, and the comments pretty much sound like they are ready for a lawsuit, as LightSquared has included not only the original proposal, but the position, potential arguments and counter-arguments it would face if this case ever makes it in front of a judge.

LightSquared has even gone on record now to say that if the FCC is claiming GPS interference, then it is on the FCC to create solutions to fix the alleged interference. If those don't work, then the FCC would have to work with LightSquared and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to help them migrate from one band of spectrum to a brand new one. Jeff Carlisle, executive VP for regulatory affairs and public policy said in a conference call that, "The FCC has to exhaust reasonable alternatives before it reaches for the most extreme remedy here."

I personally think the FCC didn't realize LightSquared would come out with guns blazing on this one, and that they'd take the loss on the chin and move on. Now, this puts the FCC in a position where they need to explain why they would have approved this project in the first place, even after the concerns that were probably brought up in the beginning, only to rip it away after $4 billion of private funding has been put into the endeavor. At this point, the FCC also does have the ability to go back and change its mind on previous decisions in light of the comments sent in. If everything stands as is, LightSquared says it would be "one of the most disastrous 'bait-and-switch' episodes in the history of telecommunications regulation."

Carlisle added,

This is the one place where all of those different strands of fairness, of law, of technology and policy, are being brought together in one document... We're right on the law, we're right on the policy and we're right on the technology. We are not going away. We're in the process of {revising} our business plan to expand our financial runway to continue to move forward over a period of quarters and years.

For LightSquared, they're ready for a fight and I think they have something here. When we receive the FCC's response, we'll be sure to fill you all in on what's going to happen next. Until then, the ball is in the FCC's court.

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