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LightSquared CEO: FCC Harmed the American Public by Blocking Network

by Todd Haselton | February 15, 2012February 15, 2012 3:05 pm PDT

LightSquared Satellite

LightSquared just issued a response to the Federal Communications Commission’s Tuesday ruling that it will continue to prohibit the wholesale network retailer from activating its 4G LTE network. LightSquared and a former FCC engineer have argued that testing was “rigged” and that those who claim its network interferes with GPS networks have close ties to the GPS industry.

“Unfortunately, with its action yesterday, the FCC has harmed not only LightSquared, but also the American public by making it impossible to build out a system that would meet public policy goals of successive administrations,” LightSquared CEO Sanjiv Ahuja said. “Today, we ask the FCC to restore American values of rule of law and regulatory certainty to help America maintain its place as a global leader in both public safety and economic development… Politicians, rather than engineers and scientists, dictated the solution to the problem from Washington.” LightSquared said it is committed to finding a solution and that it believes a solution can still be found if all parties involved reach an agreement.

The company has a contract with Sprint to help Sprint roll out its 4G LTE network during the second half of this year. However, Sprint has said that the contract is invalid unless LightSquared gains the FCC’s blessing. Sprint will owe LightSquared $65 million if the deal falls through, but that’s nothing compared to the debt and billions that LightSquared has already invested in its technology.

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LightSquared Response to FCC Public Notice

Statement from Sanjiv Ahuja, Chairman and CEO of LightSquared

RESTON, Va., Feb. 15, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — For more than a decade, LightSquared and its predecessor companies have worked to bring a private sector solution to a public problem – expanding wireless broadband connectivity to every corner of this country – and in doing so, encouraging economic development, increasing competition and lowering prices for American consumers.  Recognizing that America was not keeping pace with the rest of the world with respect to wireless innovation, the United States government encouraged, and in our case, mandated investment from the private sector to help solve this problem.  They did this to help ensure that we no longer lose ground to global competitors and fall behind in a technology crucial for creating jobs and growing economies in the 21st century.

Typically, when America has faced a challenge, the private and public sectors join together to help solve these problems to better serve this country. Unfortunately, with its action yesterday, the FCC has harmed not only LightSquared, but also the American public by making it impossible to build out a system that would meet public policy goals of successive administrations.

Today, we ask the FCC to restore American values of rule of law and regulatory certainty to help America maintain its place as a global leader in both public safety and economic development.

After years of receiving regulatory approvals, the FCC approved LightSquared to build its ground network in 2005.  In 2010, the FCC amended that plan, requiring LightSquared to build a national broadband network that reached 260 million Americans.  At the government’s mandate, LightSquared began investing billions of dollars in America’s infrastructure – without asking for any money from the American taxpayer. Yesterday, after LightSquared had already spent nearly $4 billion, the FCC changed its mind.  There can be no more devastating blow to private industry and confidence in the consistency of the FCC’s decision-making process.

It is not surprising that, as with all innovative new technologies, scientific concerns became an issue.  In this case, the government decided to choose winners and losers. Politicians, rather than engineers and scientists, dictated the solution to the problem from Washington.

To leave this problem unresolved is the height of bureaucratic irresponsibility and undermines the very principles that once made America the best place in the world to do business.  We remain committed to finding a solution and believe that if all the parties have that same level of commitment, a solution can be found.  The American people send their representatives to Washington to solve tough problems and make our country better – not to undermine and pull the rug from under private enterprise.

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Todd Haselton

Todd Haselton has been writing professionally since 2006 during his undergraduate days at Lehigh University. He started out as an intern with...

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