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Industry Leaders Support Wireless Competition

March 27, 2012 | 0 Comments

These letters are all generated from supporters to get all of America—rural and urban alike—connected. To join this effort, visit http://apps.fcc.gov/ecfs//hotdocket/list and submit your comment to Proceeding Number 11-109.

When deadly tornadoes swept through Eastern Kentucky in early March, power and phone lines went down, rendering emergency responders without communications. Terry Stewart of the Gateway District Health Department says that if first responders could not communicate during the aftermath—loss of life could have been greater.

“But thanks to temporary assistance from satellite phones and related communications gear provided by LightSquared, first responders were able to communicate and coordinate effective disaster relief. (…) the country would benefit greatly from LightSquared’s proposed nationwide agencies 24/7/365 access to a state-of-the-art backup communications system; such redundancy would surely save lives.”

Over the past two weeks, Terry and other community and industry leaders have been writing in support of LightSquared to the FCC to ensure that America’s wireless infrastructure provide the needed access and competition all citizens deserve.  Writing to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, Joseph Valandra, a member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe of South Dakota and CEO of Tehan Woglake, says his community and his business need LightSquared’s high-speed broadband infrastructure. Speaking of LightSquared’s commitment, he offers:

“Tribal and Rural America deserve to have access to high-speed broadband and the huge benefits of being connected to the Internet. They need all the help they can get to ensure that the economic development tools of the 21st century are available to those who so desperately need them.”

Adding that the “concerns raised by the GPS industry and the NTIA are technically shortsighted and continues the effective monopoly of the major service providers in the US,” Joseph urges the FCC to not modify LightSquared’s license to change its authority to build a terrestrial-based broadband network.

Richard Scott, CEO of Pi Omni Media, a minority/veteran owned multimedia company, sees  an emerging market of developing “our digital terrestrial television network by connecting rural and underserved America through full and low power television stations as a ‘dream deferred.’ (…) Difficulties placed on African Americans and other minorities in regards to TV ownerships, especially financially have to be met with foresight and strong business relationships.” LightSquared offers his small company a chance at viable competition.

“LightSquared’s solution (…) offers small market operators like myself, the ability to survive in a limited, controlled industry and offer much needed services, in various regions; and in many cases, at a lower cost to consumers. Absent of LightSquared, this opportunity would not be available.”

“Each primary party in these proceedings represent numerous organizations with a vested interest. Those we serve today, and will serve in the future require your full attention to these matters. A terrestrial network of LightSquared’s scope benefits many, especially the recipients in underserved areas of America. In addition to the obvious, a sound decision will save and create jobs as well as sustain the livelihood of millions. Stopping short of offering the connectivity so richly deserved to small market America will set us back.”

In the midst of a national financial struggle, Greg Smith, President of Advanta Technologies, knows that fixing our “terrible bandwidth situation will not, unto itself, bail us out of our situation; however, it is a crucial step.” He’s championing LightSquared’s potential to disrupt the market comprised of only a couple of big companies with “backroom legal actions” leading to unfavorable outcomes for the consumer.

“High prices, indefensible price variances (e.g. 20 MB fiber for $99 vs. 20 MB fiber for $2000—only five miles apart), consistently poor service levels, and mostly the general lack of bandwidth availability are ample evidence that something has to change. (…) The lack of ubiquitous, low cost bandwidth in our country is an incalculable anchor on our country’s productivity. We can say that it is a ‘rural’ problem, but in reality, it is often not that rural. Walking away from opportunity after opportunity because of the unavailability of low cost bandwidth is, right now, is simply a cost of doing business for Advanta. A very frustrating cost.”

The cost, however, is not only passed on to the consumer. Greg notes that this decision could have very serious implications for any future development in the much-needed spectrum space.

“No one in their right mind would fund the building of a new skyscraper, if the building permit has a chance of being pulled at the last minute. With this LightSquared debacle, the FCC has a credibility problem—who will spend billions again, knowing that the FCC may rescind the frequency at the last minute?”

Let your voice be heard in support of wireless broadband across the nation.  To make your case to the FCC in support of this effort, visit http://apps.fcc.gov/ecfs//hotdocket/list and submit your comment to Proceeding Number 11-109.