The FCC has granted Globalstar's request to modify its ability to offer Ancillary Terrestrial Component (ATC) services in the U.S., paving the way for the mobile satellite operator to deploy WiMAX to more than 500 rural communities with its spectrum lessee Open Range Communications. The ATC allows satellite operators to partner with terrestrial operators to offer services that can penetrate buildings, which is a major shortcoming to satellite services. Open Range Communications offers rural broadband services.
Globalstar and Open Range will also obtain a $267-million loan from the Department of Agriculture's Rural Development Utilities Program. This financing is contingent on various FCC conditions and other governmental approvals. Globalstar said the decision will enable it and Open Range to begin adding WiMAX to Globalstar's MSS service next year. Globalstar said it plans to pursue discussions with other possible wireless partners in the US and other countries.
"Today's FCC action is an important step in closing the digital divide in America. We expect our partner to initially deploy infrastructure in more than 500 rural communities with the ability to expand the relationship over the next six years to additional markets covering 50m people or about 15% of the US population," said Jay Monroe, CEO and chairman of Globalstar.
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