Grassley Lifts FCC Block Over Lightsquared ‘Cheerleading’

A U.S. senator said he would stop blocking two nominees to the U.S. Federal Communications Commission over concerns the agency rushed to approve Philip Falcone’s LightSquared Inc. wireless venture.

The FCC has begun producing documents, and that’s enough progress to remove holds on Jessica Rosenworcel, a Democrat, and Ajit Pai, a Republican, Senator Charles Grassley said in an e- mailed statement.

“It appears the FCC wanted LightSquared to succeed,” the Iowa Republican said. “Is the FCC a neutral arbiter weighing all public interests in each case, or is it a cheerleader for favored projects?”

The FCC preliminarily approved LightSquared in January 2011, setting off objections from navigation-gear makers and users such as airlines who said the service’s ground-based towers would overwhelm devices using the global-positioning system. In February, President Barack Obama’s administration determined interference couldn’t be mitigated, and the FCC said it intends to revoke approval.

Grassley in November announced he’d prevent a vote by the full Senate on the nominees because the FCC wasn’t responding to his requests for information about its dealings with LightSquared. The Commerce Committee approved the nominees on a voice vote in December.

The five-member agency has two open seats because one member quit to join Comcast Corp. (CMCSA) and another’s term expired.

“We are pleased this roadblock to the confirmation of two outstanding nominees appears to have been removed,” Tammy Sun, an FCC spokeswoman, said in an e-mail.

To contact the reporter on this story: Todd Shields in Washington at tshields3@bloomberg.net;

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Bernard Kohn at bkohn2@bloomberg.net

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