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Federal Agencies Recommend Against Harbinger’s LightSquared

HARBINGERHarbinger Capital Partner‘s wireless venture LightSquared suffered another blow last week after nine federal agencies unanimously recommended an end to its plan to institute a nationwide 4G system, reports FINAlternatives.

“Based upon this testing and analysis, there appear to be no practical solutions or mitigations that would permit the LightSquared broadband service, as proposed, to operate within the next few months or years without significantly interfering with GPS,” wrote the Space-Based Positioning, Navigation and Timing National Executive Committee wrote to the Commerce Dept. It said that no solution could be found to prevent LightSquared’s network from interfering with global positioning systems and that testing of its network should be stopped.

The group’s recommendation is not a formal ruling. The final decision falls to the Federal Communications Commission.

LightSquared said “that its revised plan eliminates most interference issues” and accused members of the group of bias. The company alleged that advisory board member Bradford Parkinson, the “father of GPS,” is in violation of conflict of interest rules, given that he also serves on the board of directors at Trimble Navigation, one of LightSquared’s largest competitors. “Government testing has become unfair and shrouded from the public eye,” LightSquared said, calling for tests to be run again with “unbiased officials and engineers.” It also threatened legal action.

Harbinger Capital, the hedge fund firm founded and ran by Phil Falcone, has more than half of its assets invested in LightSquared, in a position that accounts for all but a small sliver of LightSquared’s ownership.

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