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Lights out for LightSquared (FCC Finally Pulls Plug. Another Obama Crony Bites the Dust)
Hotair ^ | 02/15/2012 | Ed Morrissey

Posted on 02/15/2012 7:26:14 AM PST by SeekAndFind

National Journal calls it "a colossal fall from grace", but it comes only as a political surprise that the FCC acted yesterday to kill off the LightSquared proposal. After an extraordinary one-year grace period to resolve the interference issues of its network with existing GPS systems, the FCC reluctantly admitted that “no practical way” to fix the basic problem of high-powered terrestrial broadcasts on a spectrum slice intended for low-power satellite communications (via Instapundit):

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) moved to reject LightSquared’s planned wireless network on Tuesday after the president’s top adviser on telecom issues said there is “no practical way” to prevent the network from disrupting GPS devices.

Philip Falcone and his investment firm Harbinger Capital invested billions of dollars in LightSquared’s plan to build a nationwide high-speed cellphone network, which now appears dead. …

On Tuesday, Lawrence Strickling, the assistant secretary for communications and information at the Commerce Department, said government testing showed LightSquared’s network would cause widespread problems with GPS devices, including ones used by pilots to prevent their airplanes from crashing.

“We conclude at this time that there are no mitigation strategies that both solve the interference issues and provide LightSquared with an adequate commercial network deployment,” Strickling wrote in a letter to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski.

The action by the FCC would not only end the waiver process, it would force LSQ off of the terrestrial towers it now uses on those frequencies, ending all of their operations:

As a result of Strickling’s recommendation, the FCC will propose revoking LightSquared’s conditional waiver and and indefinitely suspending its authority to operate cell towers.

LSQ was caught unawares, according to National Journal:

The quick reaction seemed to catch LightSquared off guard. Just an hour before the FCC announced its decision, a LightSquared spokesman blasted the NTIA conclusion and said the company “fully expects the [FCC] to recognize LightSquared’s legal rights to build its $14 billion, privately financed network.”

The decision marks a colossal fall from grace for the wireless startup, which has waged a bitter fight over the network for more than a year. LightSquared wants to build a nationwide wholesale wireless network based on satellites and ground transmitters.

The Washington Post notes that the LSQ venture started out as a poster child for the Obama administration’s desire for broadband expansion, and turned into a potential exhibit for their crony capitalism instead:

It was a model project — a privately funded business that would carry out Genachowski’s plans to create more competition to giants AT&T and Verizon Wireless.

But the satellite venture struggled with financing as regulatory scrutiny of the network grew. Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) asked if the FCC was paying special favors to the company and asked for all correspondence between officials and the firm. Genachowski’s office refused, saying Grassley’s Judiciary Subcommittee doesn’t oversee the FCC.

Meanwhile, government aviation and military officials sounded alarms that LightSquared’s network would interfere with everything from landing gear to weather prediction systems. The FAA predicted multiple deaths could occur if the network was launched.

The only model this demonstrates is how Democratic donors got favorable treatment from the Obama administration. The Post doesn’t mention that Obama was an early investor in a LightSquared predecessor, or how investors had access to the White House, nor how the White House tried to pressure witnesses to Congress to modify testimony favorably toward LightSquared. None of the reports mention that the FCC could have easily bench-tested this a year ago and found out exactly what we know now, which would have saved LightSquared and taxpayers a lot of time and money. Grassley’s investigation wants to get to the bottom of all these questions, and so far Genachowski has been stonewalling to prevent it.

Meanwhile, good riddance to LightSquared and its attempt to use political pressure to get a 4G cell network on the cheap at the expense of GPS consumers, commercial aviation, and national security. It should never have taken this long to come to this conclusion.



TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: corruption; fcc; fccchairman; gps; juliusgenachowski; lightsquared; philfalcone; tech

1 posted on 02/15/2012 7:26:22 AM PST by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind

Good.


2 posted on 02/15/2012 7:29:24 AM PST by ILS21R (Never give up.)
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To: SeekAndFind
The quick reaction seemed to catch LightSquared off guard...

The decision marks a colossal fall from grace for the wireless startup, which has waged a bitter fight over the network for more than a year.

Their money bundling for Obama 2012 must have fallen behind the assigned quota...

3 posted on 02/15/2012 7:32:30 AM PST by apillar
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To: SeekAndFind

I can’t wait for the MSM to report on this one.


4 posted on 02/15/2012 7:33:48 AM PST by chopperman
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To: SeekAndFind

If it’s the Obamaloon clown show, and if it’s technology, one can be assured that the choices made will be idiotic, self-serving, corrupt, and worthy of time in prison.

That’s the way it is in the world of progressives.


5 posted on 02/15/2012 7:38:52 AM PST by Da Coyote
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To: SeekAndFind

Advisory board: LightSquared can’t be fixed

posted at 9:11 am on January 14, 2012 by Ed MorrisseyIf the Obama administration plans to use political pressure to rescue LightSquared and its owner, Democratic contributor Philip Falcone, they’d better act quickly. The more of these reports that get published, the tougher it will be to explain away as anything but a political payoff (via William Amos):

http://hotair.com/archives/2012/01/14/advisory-board-lightsquared-cant-be-fixed/


6 posted on 02/15/2012 7:41:51 AM PST by KeyLargo
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To: Da Coyote; Tijeras_Slim; FireTrack; Pukin Dog; citabria; B Knotts; kilowhskey; cyphergirl; ...
AVIATION PING
7 posted on 02/15/2012 7:44:08 AM PST by KeyLargo
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To: Da Coyote

Remove the corruption and politics (but I repeat myself) and I’m disappointed because I understand the technology would have helped many parts of this Country gain broadband access.


8 posted on 02/15/2012 7:45:12 AM PST by Portcall24
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To: Da Coyote; Tijeras_Slim; FireTrack; Pukin Dog; citabria; B Knotts; kilowhskey; cyphergirl; ...
AVIATION PING
9 posted on 02/15/2012 7:45:21 AM PST by KeyLargo
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To: Da Coyote

Remove the corruption and politics (but I repeat myself) and I’m disappointed because I understand the technology would have helped many parts of this Country gain broadband access.


10 posted on 02/15/2012 7:45:40 AM PST by Portcall24
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To: ILS21R

U.S. Government Moves To Protect GPS
By Graham Warwick
Washington

Spending millions of taxpayer dollars establishing whether a company’s business plan is viable is not usually government’s role, but in the case of wireless-broadband hopeful LightSquared versus the GPS community, the effort may yet change the way the U.S. regulates the use of frequency spectrum worth billions.

How one U.S. government agency could approve a business plan that jeopardizes a public utility other government entities consider vital to safety and security, not to mention the economy, is the key question that has lurked behind the battle between LightSquared and the GPS industry since it ignited in earnest a year ago.

The answer emerging from countless legal filings and Congressional hearings is that the government itself is the villain of the piece, the absence of collaboration between agencies allowing one to act without consulting the others. In bypassing its normal processes to expedite approval of LightSquared’s plan to use its mobile satellite service frequencies for a terrestrial broadband wireless network, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) left its fellow Defense and Transportation Departments, Homeland Security and others, scrambling to protect GPS signals on which they now depend.

http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/jsp_includes/articlePrint.jsp?headLine=U.S.%20Government%20Moves%20To%20Protect%20GPS&storyID=news/awst/2012/02/13/AW_02_13_2012_p26-423275.xml


11 posted on 02/15/2012 7:54:29 AM PST by KeyLargo
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To: Portcall24

There were other open frequencies available. LightSquared just didn’t want to pay for them.

For example, the huge swaths of bandwidth that analog TV used to take up? Yeah, that was available and wouldn’t have interfered with anything important.


12 posted on 02/15/2012 7:54:52 AM PST by Spktyr (Overwhelmingly superior firepower and the willingness to use it is the only proven peace solution.)
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To: SeekAndFind

Another Obama crony business that, when touched by the Won, turns to shi’ite.

Good.


13 posted on 02/15/2012 7:55:20 AM PST by hattend (Jesus wants me to make churches pay for abortions. - Barack Obama)
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To: Portcall24
...I understand the technology would have helped many parts of this Country gain broadband access.

At the taxpayer's expense!

14 posted on 02/15/2012 7:56:46 AM PST by Bushbacker1 (I miss President Bush! 2012 - The End Of An Error! (Oathkeeper))
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To: apillar

How much of our money did they get before the plug was pulled?

How much is going to be or has been funneled back to 0bama or the ‘rats?


15 posted on 02/15/2012 7:58:49 AM PST by MrB (The difference between a Humanist and a Satanist - the latter knows whom he's working for)
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To: Portcall24
...the technology would have helped many parts of this Country gain broadband access.

Do you have an actual, credible source for that understanding?

....or is this simply some more flackery?

(Consider for a moment the "data" that this regime routinely presents....such as unemployment figures....and try that deal again.)

No, I don't do /sarc for BS.

16 posted on 02/15/2012 7:59:57 AM PST by Unrepentant VN Vet ((338 and a wakeup) Truth, I know, always resides wherever brave men still have ammunition.)
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To: SeekAndFind

This was a monumental battle between the right thing to do and political corruption. In the end there was just no way to push this bad idea through. Still kinda surprising though.. when this administration actually does the right thing?


17 posted on 02/15/2012 8:01:43 AM PST by PilotDave (No, really, you just can't make this stuff up!!!)
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To: SeekAndFind

Obama wanted to mandate “free” internet access for “the folks” and this was the path.

Democrats = Buying votes with your money


18 posted on 02/15/2012 8:25:54 AM PST by G Larry (We are NOT obliged to carry the snake in our pocket and then dismiss the bites as natural behavior.)
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To: Spktyr
For example, the huge swaths of bandwidth that analog TV used to take up? Yeah, that was available and wouldn’t have interfered with anything important.

Not in the same band, however, that Lightsquared wanted to use.

19 posted on 02/15/2012 8:33:50 AM PST by Yo-Yo (Is the /sarc tag really necessary?)
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To: chopperman

“I can’t wait for the MSM to report on this one.”

No worries, the campaign money has already been forwarded to the DNC and LightSquared can wait a for a year.


20 posted on 02/15/2012 8:49:58 AM PST by fella ("As it was before Noah, so shall it be again.")
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To: SeekAndFind

King Obama strikes again,everything he touches turns to sh*t.


21 posted on 02/15/2012 10:17:48 AM PST by Vaduz
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To: SeekAndFind

Hmmm....Obama new job... stock broker... (I will stay away from his recommendations!)


22 posted on 02/15/2012 10:39:46 AM PST by ExCTCitizen (If we stay home in November '12, don't blame 0 for tearing up the CONSTITUTION!!)
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To: SeekAndFind
The FCC did throw LightSquared a small bone. LightSquared argued that the interference problems were caused by GPS devices that weren’t designed correctly. In its statement the commission said efforts should be made to fix such receivers so that more spectrum can be used.

Sorry LSQ, no go. The receivers were designed just fine given the specifications of the band-plan.

LSQ was the one going out of spec.

If they want to fund all future manufacturing redesign, additional manufacturing cost and wait for the market to shed all current devices in use they might have a shot.

Best to just cut the loss and go away. Little bammy will be long gone by that time.

.

23 posted on 02/15/2012 12:24:38 PM PST by TLI ( ITINERIS IMPENDEO VALHALLA)
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To: Spktyr
For example, the huge swaths of bandwidth that analog TV used to take up?

Already sold off & reallocated by 2008 for around $20 billion: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_2008_wireless_spectrum_auction

Frequency spectrum is a hot commodity - you really think there's a bunch of free spectrum out there that's still waiting around to be used?
24 posted on 02/15/2012 2:54:26 PM PST by too_cool_for_skool
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To: too_cool_for_skool

My point is that there was more spectrum ‘free’ as in unused for anything else that LightSquared could have bought into. Didn’t say that the licenses weren’t taken, but the people who hold them are selling space. LightSquared just didn’t want to pay for it.


25 posted on 02/15/2012 8:29:13 PM PST by Spktyr (Overwhelmingly superior firepower and the willingness to use it is the only proven peace solution.)
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