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LightSquared Files For Bankruptcy Protection


Lightsquared, a company that had hoped to build a nationwide wireless broadband network, has filed for bankruptcy. Its plans ran afoul of government regulators who said the new network would interfere with global positioning system, or GPS, signals.

NPR's Richard Gonzales has the story.

RICHARD GONZALES, BYLINE: The telecom startup was backed by hedge fund manager Philip Falcone, whose plan was to compete with the likes of broadband providers AT&T and Verizon Wireless. But LightSquared has been living on borrowed time since February. That's when the Federal Communications Commission withdrew preliminary approval of the company's plan, saying the network would interfere with about 75 percent of GPS receivers. That brought opposition from companies that rely on GPS, such UPS and FedEx.

Kevin Werbach is a professor at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He says to Lightsquared's credit, the plan was audacious.

KEVIN WERBACH: LightSquared is to be commended for making a novel attempt to shake up the wireless industry, and innovate and create new kinds of competition. But from the beginning, it was clear that there were technical questions about what they were doing.

GONZALES: LightSquared had amassed over a billion dollars in assets and a billion dollars in debts, according to its petition for Chapter 11 bankruptcy filed in a Manhattan court.

Richard Gonzales, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Richard Gonzales is NPR's National Desk Correspondent based in San Francisco. Along with covering the daily news of region, Gonzales' reporting has included medical marijuana, gay marriage, drive-by shootings, Jerry Brown, Willie Brown, the U.S. Ninth Circuit, the California State Supreme Court and any other legal, political, or social development occurring in Northern California relevant to the rest of the country.

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