FCC Suspends LightSquared Build-Out Conditions

WASHINTON -- The Federal Communications Commission is giving LightSquared a break on its build-out conditions since the company is currently enjoined from using its spectrum as it intended.

“We find it is in the public interest to toll the specific geographic measures and dates of the terrestrial-build-out conditions placed on LightSquared,” the commission said in an Order released today. “We find LightSquared is unable to meet the specific build-out requirements associated with its proposed terrestrial network because its ability to deploy is constrained by unresolved interference concerns with respect to certain GPS users operating in adjacent bands.”

LightSquared has, in the meantime, proposed modifications of its “current authorizations and filed petitions for rulemaking with the commission in September and November 2012 in an attempt to resolve GPS interference concerns. Given these developments, we find that there has been a substantial change in circumstances since the commission adopted the build-out requirements.”

LightSquared was born out of the acquisition of SkyTerra satellite spectrum by Harbinger Capital Partners. The commission approved the transfer in 2010 on the condition that it meet “stringent build-out and coverage requirements” for its proposed, terrestrial, wireless 4G broadband newtork. One condition was that LightSquared’s network cover at least 100 million people by the end of this year; 145 milion people by the end of 2013; and at least 260 million people by the end of 2015.

In September, LightSquared requested confirmation that these conditions no longer applied. The Dec. 20 relieves LightSquared of those conditions pending further actions in the proceeding.