• Some lawmakers are concerned about the FCC’s approval of a waiver requested by LightSquared, Inc. to utilize spectrum in what is known as the L-band to create a wholesale 4G wireless network that is “complemented by satellite coverage.” LightSquared plans to cover 90% of the US population by 2015. Sixty-six House members wrote FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski last week to state that LightSquared’s use of the L-band could cause interference with Global Positioning Systems (GPS) service, which utilizes adjacent spectrum, thus impacting the military, emergency responders, and others that rely on GPS. Chairman Genachowski previously has deflected criticism of the waiver, writing to Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, that the Commission will not allow LightSquared to deploy its network until the agency is satisfied that concerns about potential interference have been adequately addressed. A working group established by the FCC is studying the interference issue and is slated to complete a final report by June 15, 2011.
  • In response to a request for comment released by the FCC Wireline Competition Bureau, several national wireless service providers filed comments on June 6, 2011, asking the FCC not to impose Universal Service Fund (USF) contribution requirements on text messages. Several parties specifically urged the Commission not to classify text messages as a telecommunications service, which would likely bring with it a host of “common carrier” obligations such as anti-blocking rules. CTIA, a trade association representing wireless carriers, argued that text messaging should be understood as an “information service,” rather than a telecommunications service. AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, and Verizon echoed these sentiments. Public Knowledge and the National Hispanic Media Coalition urged the Commission in a joint filing to declare text messages to be “telecommunications service,” noting that the term does not mean only voice telephone calls. The National Telecommunications Cooperative Association also argued that text messaging revenue should be subject to USF contribution requirements. WC Docket No. 06-122.