FCC to come under scrutiny for encouraging LightSquared progress

18 Sep 2012

According to Fierce Wireless, the House Energy and Commerce Committee will hold a hearing on 21 September focusing on the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC’s) role in granting a conditional waiver for LightSquared to build out a nationwide hybrid Long Term Evolution (LTE) network using terrestrial and satellite networks, and encompassing non-traditional spectrum in the 1.4GHz and 1.6GHz bands. The committee, which launched an investigation into the matter earlier this year, has not said which witnesses will be called to testify. The hearing will look at whether the FCC followed its own policies, procedures and precedents correctly. LightSquared disputed studies that were used to demonstrate GPS interference, and maintained that the tests were biased.

As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, in February this year the FCC declared that LightSquared’s use of non-traditional frequencies interfered with GPS satellite navigation devices and aircraft flight safety equipment. Subsequent weeks saw the stricken company beset with myriad financial and legal problems, before being forced into bankruptcy in May. Republicans questioned how LightSquared got so far along in the process before the regulatory red flag was raised.