LightSquared pitches plan for saving network


The FCC had granted the company a conditional waiver to move forward in 2011, but the agency blocked the network earlier this year after tests showed the company's cell towers would interfere with critical GPS devices, including those used by airplane pilots.

In its latest FCC filings, LightSquared said it would permanently vacate the upper 10 MHz of its radio spectrum, the frequencies that had most severely interfered with GPS devices. The company also said it would not use its lower 10 MHz until the commission adopts revised rules for operating in the band without disrupting other users. 

To replace the upper 10 MHz, LightSquared requested permission to share 5 MHz of spectrum that currently belong to the federal government. That federal spectrum is adjacent to a 5 MHz block that the company already has permission to use.

The company argued that approving its proposals would allow it to "immediately expand on its existing, multibillion-dollar investment to build a network that brings more competition, choice and access to hundreds of millions of Americans more quickly than any other potential new wireless network operator."

LightSquared was forced to file for bankruptcy in May after regulatory opposition prevented it from launching its network on time.

Many congressional Republicans have questioned how LightSquared got as far is it did in the regulatory process, and have accused the administration of being too cozy with the company.

Rep. Michele BachmannMichele Marie BachmannEvangelicals shouldn't be defending Trump in tiff over editorial Mellman: The 'lane theory' is the wrong lane to be in White House backs Stephen Miller amid white nationalist allegations MORE (R-Minn.) accused President Obama of "crony capitalism" for allegedly giving favor to political supporters.

Sen. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyOn The Money: Biden to nominate Yellen for Treasury secretary | 'COVID cliff' looms | Democrats face pressure to back smaller stimulus Loeffler to continue to self-isolate after conflicting COVID-19 test results Loeffler isolating after possible COVID-19 infection MORE (R-Iowa) claimed the White House and the FCC catered to LightSquared's well-connected lobbyists. For months, Grassley blocked a Senate vote on the president's two FCC nominees in a bid to force the agency to release internal documents on its review of the company.

But at an oversight hearing last month, Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee took the opposite position, questioning why the FCC didn't do more to save LightSquared.

They argued that the interference problem was the fault of the GPS industry — not LightSquared.

Testing showed LightSquared's signal did not bleed into the GPS band. Instead, the problem was that GPS receivers were too sensitive to filter out LightSquared's powerful cell towers operating on nearby frequencies.