Now that LightSquared has emerged from bankruptcy protection, it is lobbying hard to get access to spectrum to launch a wireless network. Specifically, the company is relying on big-name executives in the wireless industry to push its case directly to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler.
According to an FCC filing, on May 15, former FCC Chairman Reed Hundt, who has been representing LightSquared since at least December 2014, met with Wheeler, Wheeler's senior counselor Philip Verveer, and Renee Gregory, a legal adviser to Wheeler. Also present at the meeting on behalf of LightSquared was former Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ) CEO Ivan Seidenberg, who is expected to serve as LightSquared's new chairman. Hundt is also a board member of the newly restructured company.
At the meeting, Hundt and Seidenberg "underscored the need for the Commission to move forward promptly" so that LightSquared's L-Band spectrum can "be use for broadband terrestrial services and that spectrum located at 1675-1680 MHz can be made available for terrestrial services."
In April, LightSquared told the FCC its emergence from bankruptcy will let it bring the company's "valuable spectrum resources and existing satellite and terrestrial networks to the marketplace. Post-consummation, LightSquared will be better equipped to continue to provide services to a wide range of private and public users--including the transport and energy industries, as well as first responders and federal government agencies--who depend on those services every day for safe, secure communication."
LightSquared initially launched in 2010 with the goal of building a nationwide wireless LTE network that other companies could use in order to offer their own services to customers. The company signed up around 40 wholesale customers to the plan. However, LightSquared entered bankruptcy protection in May 2012 after the FCC revoked its conditional license to operate because of unresolved concerns that LightSquared's planned LTE-based network in the L-band would interfere with GPS receivers. LightSquared vigorously contested that move.
To mitigate the interference concerns, LightSquared in the fall of 2012 submitted to the FCC a request to combine the 5 MHz it uses for satellite service at 1670-1675 MHz with frequencies in the 1675-1680 MHz band, currently used by National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration weather balloons. The company would share the NOAA spectrum rather than gain exclusive rights to it. LightSquared would then agree not to deploy a terrestrial network in the 1545-1555 MHz downlink part of the L-Band.
In its April filing, LightSquared noted that several requests to avoid interference with GPS receivers by using different slices of LightSquared's spectrum remain pending at the FCC.
LightSquared has said it has access to $1.25 billion in working capital, and has said it will use the funds to "make full use of its spectrum to provide existing and innovative services available to the public."
- see this FCC filing
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