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Public Statements

Stearns Concludes Oversight Hearing on FCC and the Lightsquared Network

Statement

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

"After conducting an eight-month, thorough examination, which included getting briefed by and receiving thousands of pages of documents from all parties involved, the record shows that LightSquared and its predecessor companies have spent close to a decade and approximately $4 billion to develop a satellite-based national LTE network," stated Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL), Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations. "Now LightSquared is bankrupt and 40 MHz of spectrum is left unused at a time when demand for wireless services and broadband is exploding. My great concern is that unless the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) moves toward a solution, it will create uncertainty that deters companies from investments that will bring more competition to the industry and more innovation for consumers."

The hearing focused on the FCC process and decision-making regarding the LightSquared Network. Noted Stearns, "It was not until very late in the game that GPS raised overload interference issues at the agency, which resulted from the design of GPS receivers. The concern we examined at the hearing today was that after only preliminary testing, the FCC suddenly moved to revoke its conditional approval of LightSquared's network, leaving the company and its spectrum holdings in regulatory limbo. Members of the Energy and Commerce Committee understand the importance of efficient spectrum policy and that leaving 40 MHz of spectrum sitting fallow is not the right answer."

Stearns directed the central question of addressing the LightSquared/GPS problem to Julius Knapp, the FCC's Chief for the Office of Engineering and Technology. Asked Stearns "Do you believe there is a solution to this problem?" Knapp responded, "Yes."

Concluded Stearns, "We hoped to send a message today that the FCC needs to continue to work with the parties on a workable solution."


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