LightSquared/FCC Hearing Set for Sept. 21

House Oversight Committee Wants to Talk about How Agency Handled Waiver

The House Energy and Commerce Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee has scheduled a hearing Sept. 21 on the FCC's role in granting a conditional waiver to LightSquared to operate a terrestrial broadband network using spectrum authorized for satellite use.

No witnesses have been announced for "The LightSquared Network: An Investigation of the FCC's Role," but it will examine how the FCC handled the waiver, which was rescinded after interference issues with GPS devices could not be resolved to the FCC's and various government agencies' satisfaction, and whether the FCC's handling "was consistent with prevailing FCC policies, procedures and precedents."

The Energy and Commerce Committee launched an investigation into the FCC's role earlier this year.

FCC officials signaled that they wanted LightSquared to be able to offer wholesale competing wireless broadband service, though it was always contingent on not interfering with GPS. The commission has moved to loosen restrictions on mobile satellite spectrum, though a different swath not adjacent to the GPS band, so it can be used to help boost competition for terrestrial wireless broadband service. Dish Network is notably is looking to get into that space.