By Jeff Carlisle, Executive Vice President for Regulatory Affairs and Public Policy
February 14, 2012
LightSquared’s network continues to receive strong support from around the country. Members of Congress and state elected officials from both parties are urging the Federal Communications Commission to resolve remaining hurdles so we can roll out our network and bring 4G-LTE wireless broadband to 260 million Americans by 2015.
Among those weighing in was Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee and dean of the Congressional Black Caucus. As The Hill reported on Monday, Conyers wrote FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski last week “to express about delays in the approval process involving LightSquared’s proposed 4G-LTE wireless broadband network,” citing the need for greater competition and new providers in the wireless industry. “I strongly urge the Commission to move with urgency to fully test potential solutions to the LightSquared-GPS interference issue employing transparent, fact-based methodologies, common-sense standards and independent testing facilities.”
Conyers’ support followed a bipartisan joint letter from four respected House members asking the FCC to “work towards a resolution of the dispute between LightSquared and the GPS coalition.” Reps. Brian Bilbray (D-Calif.), John Campbell (R-Calif.), Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) and Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) wrote in December that they were “encouraged by recent reports that technical experts have found a way to solve the most challenging of the coexistence problems… we believe that a way forward is achievable and this dispute can be quickly resolved.”
Rep. Ed Pastor (D-Ariz.) also wrote Chairman Genachowski in December, urging him to “begin bridging the ‘digital divide’” separating relatively affluent Americans with Internet access and less affluent individuals with very limited access. “One key to addressing this ‘digital divide’ is ensuring lower prices, and one of the best ways to lower prices is to increase competition in the market.” Pastor continued, “Since the GPS industry first expressed its concerns, LightSquared and private developers have released several inexpensive solutions that would insulate GPS devices from interference issues, and I believe innovative individuals will find additional solutions. Therefore, I ask that the FCC continue to support the parties in finding solutions.”
Support also is pouring in from elected officials at the state level whose constituents would benefit from the lower prices, greater choice and world-class quality and speed of LightSquared’s network.
Senator Robert Mayer (R-Dexter), president pro tem of the Missouri State Senate, told Chairman Genachowski in a January 26th letter that “LightSquared could be a ‘game-changer’ for southeast Missouri, providing broadband access through smart phones and tablet computers to thousands of men, women and children.”
“I ask the FCC to do everything it can do to help LightSquared bring 4G broadband service to rural America,” Senator Johnny Ray Turner (D-Prestonsburg), Chair of the Kentucky Senate Democratic Caucus, wrote to the FCC. “For those of us who live in rural areas, there are few issues more important today.”
Tennessee State Senator Jim Tracy (R-Shelbyville), chair of the Senate Transportation and Safety Committee, wrote the FCC “to give my strong support for LightSquared, a 4G LTE company, which has the capability of providing wireless broadband throughout my state.” Tracy pointed out that “the GPS industry has known about this technology and future plans to use its licensed spectrum, yet did nothing about it. I believe now is the time to act. LightSquared has the technology to bring an efficient nationwide 4G wireless broadband network that will not only help our rural consumers, but countless businesses nationwide by spurring innovation, jobs and economic growth.”
In a February 3rd letter to the FCC, Kansas State Senator Kelly Kultala (D-Kansas City) expressed her “support for LightSquared and their proposed 4G-LTE mobile broadband network that can help our country avoid a very real spectrum crisis… LightSquared’s sustainable wholesale-only business model will increase competition in the mobile broadband market, leading to lower consumer prices and increased access to services and applications through mobile devices.”
“This proposed network will lower prices and dramatically improve wireless broadband infrastructure in rural areas like West Virginia without requiring any government funding,” West Virginia Delegate John D. O’Neal IV (R-Raleigh) wrote in a January 24th letter to the FCC. “I encourage the FCC to retake control of the testing of LightSquared’s network and the GPS devices to ensure that fair and impartial testing is conducted.”
LightSquared’s network partners around the country also are telling the FCC how crucial this network would be to their businesses and their customers.
“LightSquared’s wholesale services are critical to our ability to deliver Broadband to low-income communities,” wrote Dale R. Schmick, Chief Strategy Officer of YourTel America.
LightSquared’s wholesale service “will enhance competition significantly by facilitating the ability of new providers to enter local, regional and nationwide markets and serve customers,” wrote Randolph Kantorowicz-Toro, Chairman and CEO of iBanco Corp.
“Hundreds of millions of American consumers would benefit from the greater competition that would be made possible by LightSquared’s network,” wrote Jerome S. Kaiser, Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of AirTouch Communications.
Bernie Stevens, CEO of PowerNet Global Communications, urged the FCC to grant LightSquared’s Petition for Declaratory Ruling regarding GPS receivers that “squat” in spectrum not licensed to them. “Granting LightSquared’s Petition would reinforce the integrity of the Commission’s rules, and provide the regulatory certainty necessary for companies like PNG and LightSquared to attract investment and continue developing innovative communications solutions that truly benefit consumers… I urge the Commission to grant LightSquared’s Petition on an expedited basis.”
“By affirming LightSquared’s rights as described in the Petition, the Commission would facilitate our ability to deliver the tangible benefits of more robust competition to consumers in the form of higher quality service, lower rates, and expanded voice and broadband service options all at a lower price point,” wrote Mark Richards, Chief Information Officer of VoX Communications. “We feel that the cost savings that would absolutely be enabled by LightSquared would be passed to the American consumer.”
“I urge the FCC to fully support LightSquared in offering their services, and fear for the future of the telecom industry were it not allowed to do so,” wrote Robert Gaal, CEO & Co-Founder of Karma Mobility Inc.
Jeff Carlisle serves as LightSquared’s executive vice president for regulatory affairs and public policy. Carlisle, who previously served as vice president of regulatory affairs for SkyTerra, is responsible for all domestic and international regulatory and policy matters including those at the FCC, Congress, the Executive Branch, the ITU and in foreign markets.