Phillip Falcone, CEO of embattled LightSquared, told Fox News on Monday that his firm did not donate money to the Barack Obama campaign to buy access and favors from the FCC. ”Why would anyone do that”, he asked rhetorically to Megyn Kelly, the interviewer. ”I’m just trying to build a network.”
CNet News’ Roger Cheng reported:
LightSquared is attempting to build a nationwide 4G LTE network that it will sell on a wholesale basis to other carriers that want to resell its services. But the company has run into a major hurdle with a coalition of companies reliant on GPS equipment. They claim LightSquared’s spectrum interferes with the operations of everything from farming equipment to airplane systems.
Meanwhile, last Thursday, the House Armed Services Committee met on the impact of LightSquared’s effect on national security. According to Wireless Week,
the Defense Department and military make extensive use of GPS that could suffer interference from LightSquared’s transmitters – but the nonappearance of FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, scrutiny of lobbying in the executive branch and questions about FCC decision-making overshadowed the event.
Immediately after opening the Strategic Forces Subcommittee, chairman Michael Turner called out the FCC chairman for not appearing, indicating that Genachowski had been seen in the building, but
“That said, I have the unfortunate responsibility to inform the subcommittee that Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Genachowski refused to appear today. I must also make clear that I consider the Chairman’s failure to show up today to be an affront to the House Armed Services Committee. Further, it appears to be symptomatic of a disregard by the Chairman to the consequences of the FCC’s January 26 waiver to LightSquared. I trust Chairman Genachowski is doing something very important this morning if he couldn’t be here to discuss the significant harm to national security that may result from the FCC’s action on January 26th of this year.
On January 26, 2011, LightSquared was granted a fast-tracked waiver from the FCC (with White House approval).
One brave Air Force General, risked his career by appearing at the hearing. General William Shelton, who told the subcommittee, the week before, in a classified briefing, that he has been pressured to change his testimony to favor Falcone, the large Democratic Donor.
The notion that LightSquared’s version of the 4G LTE services is a national security risk, has been known since at least February 2011. LightSquared has both debated the issue, and later issued statements that it intends to repair the problems.
General Shelton is the Chairman of the Air Force Space Command.
The difference between LightSquared’s 4G LTE network and those of carriers like Verizon and AT&T is that LightSquared’s is based on satellite. Traditional carriers use land-based towers.
We leave you with this question:
Why should Falcone and his network get a free pass, when carriers like Verizon and AT&T followed the rules and built out their own 4G LTE networks with their own capital. Which rule book is Obama and the FCC playing by, and is this fair to the American consumer? Only you can decide, in November of 2012.
For More Information: