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For Immediate Release
July 5, 2011

Grassley: the FCC is wrong to leave the public in the dark about LightSquared

WASHINGTON – Senator Chuck Grassley has asked the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to comply with his request for information and account for the commission’s resistance to transparency to date in order to build trust in the way the commission is handling the public’s business.

“If anything, the shadows around the LightSquared project should have led the Federal Communications Commission to proceed with caution rather than step on the gas,” Grassley said.  “The opposite happened and the FCC needs to be held accountable.  The public spectrum is limited, and it’s a valuable asset that the Federal Communications Commission is responsible for protecting.”

Since April, Grassley has sought information about a conditional waiver granted by the FCC to LightSquared, a new wireless Internet network project.  His inquiry was prompted by the project being on a fast track for government approval, despite concerns that it could jam the existing navigational systems used in farming, trucking, air travel, law enforcement, by the military and in general consumer navigation, and that the person funding the operation is a controversial hedge fund founder who is reportedly under federal investigation for questionable financial dealings.
Testing of LightSquared’s technology is ongoing.  Disruption of GPS service has been identified, including for first responders, along with other interference concerns.

A copy of the letter sent today from Grassley to Mr. Julius Genachowski is posted here.