Technology, Media & Telecom Policy Correspondent
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Jan 13, 2012

LightSquared cries foul over GPS advisory board

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Telecom startup LightSquared is asking for an investigation of a possible conflict of interest by a member of an advisory board that has already warned against its technology because of interference with the global positioning system.

LightSquared, which needs government approval of its high-speed wireless technology by the end of the month to keep its major partner on board, lodged its probe request with NASA Inspector General Paul Martin late Wednesday.

Jan 10, 2012

Analysis: LightSquared in 11th-hour effort to woo Washington

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Telecom startup LightSquared is mounting a last-ditch effort to win U.S. regulatory approval for a new wireless network after being outmaneuvered by the GPS industry, which has spun doomsday scenarios of interference problems that could cause planes to fall out of the sky and threaten national security.

Billionaire hedge fund manager Philip Falcone has bet more than $3 billion of his Harbinger Capital Partners money on LightSquared, which in turn has spent more than $1 million on lobbying efforts in Washington to try to get approval to launch a new high-speed wireless network.

Jan 9, 2012

U.S. eyes fewer abuses of phone subsidy for the poor

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The top U.S. communications regulator on Monday proposed measures to eliminate the waste and fraud plaguing a telephone subsidy for the poor, and broaden the program to bring high-speed Internet to more low-income households.

The subsidy, offered through the Lifeline program, provides up to $10-per-month discounts on landline or wireless phone service for low-income households. The program is supported by the universal service fund, paid for through fees added to consumers’ telephone bills.

Dec 16, 2011

Tests show LightSquared still disrupts GPS

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – LightSquared’s prospects for getting its wireless network off the ground were dealt another blow this week as U.S. government tests found that the signal of the telecom startup would cause “harmful interference” to a majority of GPS devices.

Preliminary analysis of testing of the company’s planned network conducted last month showed the wireless network would not interfere with cell phones but would cause “harmful interference to the majority of other tested general purpose GPS receivers,” the U.S. Defense and Transportation departments said in a joint statement late Wednesday.

Dec 14, 2011

FCC’s Genachowski to lose his chief of staff

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Eddie Lazarus, chief of staff to the top U.S. communications regulator, is stepping down next month to pursue other endeavors, the Federal Communications Commission said on Tuesday.

Lazarus described his role at the agency as a “consigliere” to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski.

Dec 13, 2011

U.S. regulators act to quiet blaring TV commercials

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. communications regulators cracked down on excessively loud TV commercials on Tuesday, implementing a bill passed last year to quiet commercials to the same volume as the programs they accompany.

The Federal Communications Commission has been fielding viewer complaints about loud commercials almost as long as commercial television has existed, the agency said.

Dec 2, 2011

US lawmaker calls for FTC probe into Carrier IQ

WASHINGTON, Dec 2 (Reuters) – U.S. Representative Edward
Markey on Friday asked the Federal Trade Commission to
investigate whether software maker Carrier IQ violated millions
of mobile phone users’ privacy rights.

Carrier IQ makes software that companies including AT&T Inc and Sprint Nextel install in mobile devices. It
runs in the background, transmitting data that the software
maker says its customer companies use to better understand
their devices and networks, which allows them to improve their

Dec 1, 2011

Spectrum auction bill clears US House panel

WASHINGTON, Dec 1 (Reuters) – A bill to create a wireless
network for public safety and make more airwaves available to
bandwidth-hungry communications companies passed a House panel
on Thursday despite objections from Democrats over the
treatment of certain airwaves.

The bill would help meet the booming demand for mobile
devices and give a highly sought-after block of airwaves called
the D Block to public safety to build an interoperable wireless
network to ease communication between first responders.

Dec 1, 2011

AT&T says FCC “cherry-picks” facts in T-Mobile spat

By Jasmin Melvin

(Reuters) – AT&T Inc accused the staff of the U.S. communications regulator of being “one-sided” in a report critical of AT&T’s proposed buy of T-Mobile USA from Deutsche Telekom.

“The report cherry-picks facts to support its (the staff) views, and ignores facts that don’t. Where facts were lacking, the report speculates,” Jim Cicconi, AT&T’s chief lobbyist, said in a statement.

Nov 30, 2011

FCC to let AT&T pull merger application

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Communications regulators released a staff report criticizing AT&T Inc’s $39 billion plan to purchase T-Mobile USA, even though they agreed on Tuesday to let the companies withdraw their request for approval.

AT&T and T-Mobile USA owner Deutsche Telekom AG said last week they wanted to withdraw their application with the Federal Communications Commission to focus on defending the transaction from an antitrust lawsuit brought by the U.S. Justice Department.

    • About Jasmin

      "After graduating from Howard University, Jasmin joined Reuters as an intern in the summer of 2008. She was hired after that summer as a news assistant in the Washington, DC bureau, covering energy, agriculture, commodities and economic indicators. She now reports on the FCC, telecom issues, the technology industry's influence in Washington and other policy stories. Follow her on Twitter @jasminmelvin"
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