12.10.10

Will LightSquared benefit from the net neutrality debate?

Posted in LightSquared, Operators, Regulatory, Spectrum at 10:14 am by timfarrar

Apparently following the principle that the enemy of my enemy (i.e. AT&T and Verizon) is my friend, LightSquared has garnered significant support for its business plan from the Nevada State Democratic Party, the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada, and other organizations, who you wouldn’t normally expect to see cheering for “one of the world’s richest hedge fund managers“. However, absent from the debate (at least so far) are those who applauded the actions of the FCC when it “pulled the plug on a plan to use a rigged auction to award spectrum to a telecom start-up [M2Z] backed by billionaire venture capitalist and Democratic campaign donor John Doerr”, who might be expected to be opposed to a plan that could very well prevent the US Treasury from gaining “compensation for the step-up in value” when MSS spectrum is used for terrestrial-only services.

It is notable that LightSquared’s application comes in the midst of the net neutrality debate, with proposals apparently set for a vote at the FCC’s December 21 meeting. With rumors that the proposals will largely exclude wireless networks from having to comply with net neutrality obligations, it seems very plausible that a deal could be in the works to approve LightSquared’s open access network at the same time, and thereby demonstrate to net neutrality advocates that there will be at least one 4G wireless network that will undertake to comply with net neutrality rules.

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