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Grassley Holds Firm on Document Request

Confirming a report in B&C earlier Wednesday, Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) says that the FCC's move to rescind LightSquared's waiver and put its proposed wholesale wireless broadband network on hold has hardly quelled his fire for documents related to the issue.

In a statement released Wednesday, he said the FCC's decision was even more reason to want the documents he has requested since last April about contacts between the FCC and others about the waiver. The FCC's denial of that request prompted Grassley to threaten a hold on voting out the nominations of two new FCC commissioners.

"The FCC's action seems to acknowledge the point I've been making since April. Prematurely granting a conditional waiver in a rushed process is not the way to get the right result," said Grassley.

In a press conference following the FCC's monthly meeting Wednesday, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said that there would be challenges as the FCC tries to free up spectrum for mobile broadband. The FCC always conditioned the waiver on resolving GPS receiver interference issues, issues the FCC concluded Tuesday, with the help of the National Telecommunications & Information Administration, could not be resolved in the short term, and without future receiver standards.

Asked whether the reversal of the waiver was a black eye for the FCC, he said he did not view it as such. He pointed out that the FCC had taken many other steps to promote mobile broadband, including releasing unlicensed spectrum in TV white spaces, easing tower citing, and trying to get incentive auction authority to free up TV spectrum for auction.

"We have said for two years that we have to pursue many fronts to free up spectrum. We have said that there will be challenges as we move to meet the spectrum demand challenges for new technologies," suggesting the LightSquared interference issue was one of those.

Grassley said that now that the interference issue had been "settled," it was even more important to "find out why the FCC did what it did." He said he hoped other senators would join his document request, particularly "especially the chairman of the only Senate committee that the FCC is willing to answer", by which Grassley meant  Senate Commerce Committee Chair Jay Rockefeller (D-W-Va.), according to his office.