I was just made aware of this David vs. Goliath, 99% vs. the 1% controversy and wanted to share. Via The National Journal:
LightSquared is struggling to launch a nationwide, wholesale wireless network based partially on satellites and had been focused on the technical aspects of its argument – much of it over whether the company’s planned network would interfere with existing GPS technology. But after a flurry of unflattering headlines alleging that the company won Federal Communications Commission approval for its plans through campaign contributions and backroom deals, LightSquared is now trying to shift the focus to its critics. [...]
Most recently, LightSquared has taken aim at Bradford Parkinson, known as one of the founders of GPS and a member of the National Space-Based Positioning Navigation & Timing Advisory Board, which advises the government on GPS issues. Parkinson is also an investor and a member of the board of Trimble, a GPS manufacturer that has led the fight against LightSquared’s plans.
That, LightSquared officials contend, is a conflict of interest. [...] LightSquared is also pushing back at members of the GPS industry who have argued that LightSquared is trying to game the political system for financial gain. [...]
President Obama’s past investment in a LightSquared predecessor has become fodder for Republicans in the media and on Capitol Hill. Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., who also happens to be running for president, has called the LightSquared approval process “crony capitalism at its worst.”
Here is some information I received, to help sort this out.
1) Wireless For America is trying to get broadband spectrum increased, which the FCC has approved (as did the Obama and Bush administrations).
2) The plan is being blocked by Chuck Grassley, who is in the pocket of Big GPS (like Trimble), whose signal is being “distorted” by Lightsquared’s attempt to use satellite and broadband to add spectrum and has led them to blubber, snuffle, and whine instead of fixing the problem from their end.
3) As Lightsquared is a supporter of Obama with contributions, the GOP has turned this into a political issue, trying to use it to attack President Obama even though there is no there, there (like Bachmann, as is stated in the above article).
4) Big telecoms also don’t want this new spectrum increase, because, naturally, they rather preserve their monopoly (AT&T and Verizon are the culprits)
5) How does this hurt us? Underserved neighborhoods in rural and urban areas have broadband access issues, jobs that would be created by growing small telecoms are being stopped by Grassley, Tom Petri (R-Wisconsin) and their buddies, and we 99%ers are paying more for lousier service, which is what happens when a monopoly, you know, monopolizes.
6) What we can do – Sign a letter to Congress to tell them to implement a plan to expand the availability to high speed Internet access in this country of ours, which there is already a plan to do, if Grassley and his big money supporters would move their corporate GOP hineys out of the way and let them.
More info on this at the Wireless For America site.