EATEL is the First ILEC to Partner with LightSquared

LightSquared announced this morning that it has entered into a wholesale agreement today with rural ILEC and NTCA member EATEL. The agreement will allow EATEL to provide its customers with access to LightSquared’s proposed wholesale, nationwide LTE network integrated with satellite coverage.

EATEL, founded in 1935, is the incumbent local phone carrier in the Ascension and Livingston Parishes of Louisiana. Based in Gonzales, La., the telco provides high-speed Internet, phone and television service over a fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) network.

“LightSquared’s network not only allows EATEL to offer our existing customers wireless broadband services, it also gives us a critical competitive advantage as we expand our services into new markets,” said John D. Scanlan, EATEL president. Arthur “Smokey” Scanlan, EATEL’s chief executive officer, added that “LightSquared’s unique ability to offer both broadband and satellite connectivity over the same device will be a breakthrough product for our customers.”

With this agreement, EATEL becomes the first ILEC to sign on to LightSquared’s network.LightSquared continues to face major regulatory and technical hurdles which must be resolved before it can offer service, chief among them concerns about potential interference between its proposed network and GPS devices. LightSquared remains engaged with the NTIA, members of the military and the GPS community in testing its network and devices. 

Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R., Iowa), ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has expressed continued concern with LightSquared’s proposed network and the process by which it was approved by the FCC. Back in April of 2011, Grassley asked FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski for answers to questions and documents concerning LightSquared, Harbinger Capital Partners which controls LightSquared, and Harbinger Chairman Phillip Falcone.

Last week, in response to “numerous requests,” the commission set up a web page with information about LightSquared. Sen. Grassley maintains that this info was already publicly available and does not include the internal emails and other documents he has requested. The senator has said he will put holds on the FCC nominations of Jessica Rosenworcel and Ajit V. Pai on the Senate floor unless Chairman Genachowski releases the information.

For more on the EATEL/LightSquared partnership, see this release.

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