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So Harbinger-Backed LightSquared Might Mess With Hurricane Tracking, So What?

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As you know, Harbinger Capital has a big bet going on a wireless company called LightSquared. Should it succeed, Phil Falcone will make billions and his investors will receive the triple digit returns they scored on subprime. Should it fail…it's an outcome to dire to even think about but will most likely involve the Grammy-award winning Wilbur Falcone being forced to go back to playing Three-card monte in the UBS parking lot just to put food on the table. While LightSquared has so far encountered some opposition (as one often does when one is doing groundbreaking, visionary-esque work), the company has most recently been making the case that its satellite system will be huge for “coordinating enforcement and emergency response teams during natural disasters, like Hurricane Katrina.” According to various US agencies, it'd be the least they could do, as LS might screw up the tracking of future natural disasters.

Philip Falcone’s LightSquared wireless service needs more testing because it may degrade precision services that track hurricanes, guide farmers and help build flood defenses, Congress is being told today. LightSquared’s signals may disrupt precise gear that reads data from the satellite-based global-positioning system, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Transportation Department and a federal advisory body said in testimony prepared for a hearing by the House science committee.

“We support further testing of LightSquared’s proposal,” Mary Glackin, a deputy under secretary at NOAA, said in the testimony obtained by Bloomberg News before the hearing. Concerns include LightSquared’s potential effect on a satellite system that increases accuracy of hurricane tracking, Glackin said. Options for mitigating interference would be limited because the GPS satellites are in orbit and cannot be modified, she said.

According to LightSquared, Glackin and her friends can go fuck themselves.

“Everyone had nine months to do all the testing they wanted to do,” since the FCC issued preliminary approval in January, Chris Stern, a Washington-based spokesman for LightSquared, said in an interview. “If they want more testing they should be very specific about what exactly it is they want tested, because testing can always be just another delay tactic.”

If no one has any other (real) objections, step out of the way so they can do this thing.

LightSquared May Degrade Hurricane Tracking [Bloomberg]


Harbinger Capital-Backed LightSquared: What If We Told You We Could Build A Wireless Network That Doesn't Kill People Via GPS Interference? Does That Sound Like Something You'd Be Interested In?

As many of you know, the last year or so has been a pretty tough one for Phil Falcone. In addition to a civil suit against him by Harbinger Capital investors, DWAI's on the home front, and the pesky matter of being charged with securities fraud by the SEC, which would like to see him banned from the industry, what's really been plaguing him has been the opposition encountered by LightSquared, his dream and the thing he's more or less staked all his and his investors' money on. Before it entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy in May, the most serious charge against the company was that while it may seek to create "convenient connectivity for all," in doing so, the odds are high it would GPS interference that would result in boats getting lost at sea; "degrade precision services that track hurricanes, guide farmers, and help build flood defenses"; and, according to the FAA, "cost 794 lives in aviation accidents over 10 years with disruptions to satellite-aided navigation." Now, four months later, the would-be wireless network has come back with a plan: LightSquared, but without all the bad parts (for now). Philip Falcone's LightSquared on Friday made a proposal to the Federal Communications Commission that the company hopes will solve the regulatory issues surrounding its wireless satellite network and help it build its business faster without abandoning its long-term goals...LightSquared filed to modify its license application so it can use its five megahertz of spectrum that haven't caused GPS worries. It also seeks to use another five that it would share with federal-government users. The other filing, a rulemaking petition, calls for LightSquared to forego using the "upper" 10 MHz that have caused GPS concerns. In the meantime, it still wants the FCC to consider use of that 10 MHz but agreed to wait for and cooperate with "operating parameters and revised rules for terrestrial use of this spectrum." Don't get them wrong, they *want* to use the stuff that's possibly GSP harmful, but in the meantime will be happy to use the stuff that isn't, if that works for everyone. LightSquared Proposes Sharing Wireless Network With Government [DowJones]