LightSquared Presses FCC to Approve Revised Broadband Network Proposal

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By Paul Barbagallo  


Executives of LightSquared Subsidiary LLC continue to press the Federal Communications Commission to approve the company's revised proposal to use a 5-megahertz block of spectrum on a shared basis for providing mobile broadband services nationwide.

In a June 26 meeting with acting FCC Chairwoman Mignon Clyburn, Douglas Smith, LightSquared's chairman and CEO, and Jeffrey Carlisle, executive vice president of regulatory affairs and public policy, urged “prompt grant” of the proposal made last October by the company, according to an ex parte filing June 28.

LightSquared needs FCC permission to share 5 MHz of spectrum currently allocated for meteorological satellite service (1675-1680 MHz) and adjacent to a 5-MHz block that the company is already licensed to use (1670-1675 MHz). The two swaths of 5 MHz would give the company 10 MHz needed to deploy a network capable of offering mobile broadband services to as many as 260 million people on a wholesale basis throughout the United States.

As part of the company's application, LightSquared would agree to permanently relinquish its “terrestrial-usage” rights for the so-called “upper” 10 MHz of downlink frequencies (1545-1555 MHz), which are closest to global positioning systems operations and pose the greatest interference concerns.

LightSquared's latest bid is seen by industry observers as a last chance for the company to salvage its plans to create a broadband network that would serve a large swath of the country and compete with the likes of Verizon Wireless and AT&T Inc., the No. 1 and No. 2 wireless carriers in the United States.

GPS users had lobbied the FCC and Congress aggressively to block the company's original network plan, fearing it would interfere with their devices. In February 2012, the agency moved to revoke LightSquared's conditional waiver to begin construction.

The filing is at