Efforts by Globalstar to overturn a 2007 FCC order requiring the company to share a swath of Big LEO mobile satellite service (MSS) spectrum that was once reserved exclusively for Globalstar’s use came up empty last Friday, as the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the FCC’s ruling as “a product of reasoned decision-making that survives the narrow scope of review under the arbitrary and capricious standard.” The court’s order effectively closes the book on a series of FCC rulings that go back to 2003, when the FCC first issued a rulemaking notice on proposals to reassign a portion of the 33 MHz band of Big LEO channels used by MSS rivals Globalstar and Iridium. Arguing that it was experiencing a “spectrum shortage,” Iridium called upon the FCC to grant it additional channels. Notwithstanding the fact that Globalstar and Iridium use different technologies to provide MSS service, the FCC ordered the companies in 2004 to share a 3.1 MHz block of L-band spectrum between 1618.25 MHz and 1621.35 MHz that had been reserved previously for Globalstar’s use. Globalstar argued, however, that the sharing plan would produce interference between Globalstar’s TDMA system and Iridium’s CDMA-based system, urging the FCC to reconsider its decision. Although the FCC agreed ultimately that the sharing plan would produce harmful interference, the agency in 2007 reassigned the channels in question to Iridium. Rejecting Globalstar’s request for review, the DC Circuit court first noted that objections raised by Globalstar in a late-filed ex parte letter “did not give the Commission an ‘opportunity’ to pass on this issue as required” by the 1934 Communications Act. The court also dismissed Globalstar’s contention that the FCC’s actions in the case were arbitrary and capricious, declaring: “we find that the Commission’s final order is based on the extensive record compiled during this lengthy rulemaking and that the record supports the Commission’s decision.”