Lightsquared deserves to fail

Hedge fund manager John Bronte

I usually find Senator Charles Grassley’s attempts to provoke spats with big-name hedge fund managers tendentious. But in his spat with Falcone and Harbinger he is right on the money. Lightsquared deserves to fail and Grassley knows it.

Serious people including the defence department object to Falcone’s use of the spectrum.

I hope this post contributes to the end-failure of Lightsquared. Dirty or incompetent regulators make bad capitalism. If Falcone had obtained the spectrum the usual way, paying the usual number of billion dollars and dealing with interference issues (like GPS) in an open and transparent manner I would have no problems. As it is Falcone sickens me and Grassley is right on the money.

Lighsquared is about the 1% exploiting loopholes, manipulating the regulatory process, and not caring what damage is done so long as they make more money.


  1. I’m of a mind to let them have their little loophole, and the first time an airplane falls out of the sky because of GPS interference prosecute them for multiple counts of reckless homicide. Let ’em spend a couple of years with ‘Bubba’.

  2. They’d contend that crash isn’t their fault because the airplane’s GPS is cheaply made and defective because of poor filtering. Then they would contend FCC approved licensing.

    Don’t know if government approval would hold up. Drug companies are routinely sued despite government approval for their pills.

  3. How would LightSquared make money if its network actually makes airplanes crash? Is there pent up demand for that service? The author and the commenters have unwittingly aligned themselves with the much deeper pocketed forces of preserving the status quo for Big GPS and Big Telecom, their associated 1%, and in turn their congressional cronies. Ironic for this website, to say the least. You don’t have to believe that Falcone is some kind of an altruistic angel (he likely isn’t) to see the truth in this. Though I expect denial, since that truth is embarassing to you.

      • Absolutely he sure is. My point is that sometimes shaking up industries can be a good thing for consumers and small businesses too, not just for the investors that enable it. You are calling out one 1% party while being quick to side with the status quo that other 1%ers will use their power to preserve. It doesn’t appear you’ve thought this all the way through. Lightsquared has proposed substantial work-arounds and potential fixes for GPS to remain safe and compatible (to do otherwise is not in its interest of course), and it has not broken or bent any rules to get where it is. It is however seeking clarity on some of those rules. You could cynically see this as exploiting “loopholes” to increase the value of its assets, and that is a legitimate point of view. But that is far different than suggesting it is seeking to profit without caring what damage and harm is caused to the public. The rant appears arbitrary to me and fails to recognize the obvious forces at work, which the Occupy movement rightfully derides. In my opinion, under researched blogs like yours undermine Occupy’s credibility, even with those like me, who otherwise support and are part of the 99%.

        • I’m hardly siding with Big Telco. But I think Falcone is a snake, that most hedge funds are basically criminals who exploit rules and bribe politicians, when they aren’t fleecing the public with derivatives or laundering drug money.

          Dec. 2009

          Drug money worth billions of dollars kept the financial system afloat at the height of the global crisis, the United Nations’ drugs and crime tsar has told the Observer.

          Antonio Maria Costa, head of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, said he has seen evidence that the proceeds of organised crime were “the only liquid investment capital” available to some banks on the brink of collapse last year. He said that a majority of the $352bn (£216bn) of drugs profits was absorbed into the economic system as a result.

          Now that we’ve got that out of the way, Lightsquared isn’t seeking clarity now. They were told their technology would interfere with GPS so now they want that regulation revoked.That’s hardly seeking clarity.

          A more recent article I posted here covered some of what you say, including that if implemented Lightsquared would be hugely beneficial to consumers. But I keep coming back to that GPS thing. GPS is too important to be screwed with. Lightsquared technology can’t ever interfere with it, period, something DoD agrees with too.

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