LightSquared CEO Claims U.S. Politicians Using Company as a Piñata
[Satellite TODAY 09-19-11] Wholesale 4G LTE network operator LightSquared was denied an opportunity to testify at a Sept. 15 hearing of the U.S. House Armed Service Committee’s Strategic Forces Subcommittee or meet with the committee chair prior to the hearing, LightSquared CEO Sanjiv Ahuja said in a statement.
The denied testimony followed a request issued by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) earlier this week for an additional round of testing of LightSquared’s network. The company has been in an ongoing battle with GPS industry officials over potential interference issues with GPS signals. Ahuja said he was frustrated by the developments and surprised by certain allegations that the company was leveraging political influence to bypass the regulatory process.
“Any suggestion that LightSquared has run roughshod over the regulatory process is contradicted by the reality of eight long years spent gaining approvals,” Ahuja said. “We understand that some in the telecom sector fear the challenges for their business model that LightSquared presents. We understand the opposition of some in the GPS industry; many of their devices ‘squat’ on someone else’s spectrum and while technological fixes are readily available, some companies are loath to make the necessary engineering changes and would instead prefer to get access to someone else’s spectrum for free.”
Ahuja asserted that the company only holds $10,600 in a political action committee fund and that he personally gave $30,400 in contributions to both parties in late 2010. “It’s difficult to charge that LightSquared has undue political influence … It’s time Washington politicians stop using LightSquared as a piñata. Smart engineers, not political rhetoric, should decide LightSquared’s fate.”