LightSquared cleared to offer wireless broadband

January 26, 2011 By JOELLE TESSLER , AP Technology Writer

(AP) -- Federal regulators have given a satellite start-up called LightSquared clearance to use its allotted airwaves to provide wireless broadband services that could compete with AT&T and Verizon Wireless.

The Federal Communications Commission is granting the Reston, Va., company a waiver from federal rules limiting the use of those airwaves to providing back-up wireless connections for satellite phone service. Without the waiver, LightSquared's network could only be used to provide ground-based broadband service if it can also connect to a satellite.

LightSquared, launched in July by private-equity firm Harbinger Capital Partners, has the spectrum because Harbinger already owns satellite company SkyTerra.

LightSquared is building a nationwide data network that can handle voice calls, but won't offer conventional cell phone service. The company also offers slower mobile satellite services.

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