Globalstar Plunges With Second ‘No’ Vote at FCC on Proposal

Updated on
  • Member of Democratic majority joins Republican in dissent
  • Company wants to run mobile broadband on satellite airwaves

Globalstar Inc. dropped by more than half Friday as prospects narrowed for the Federal Communications Commission to approve heavier use of its airwaves after a second member of the five-person agency voted against the proposal.

Democratic Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel voted against the plan from Chairman Tom Wheeler, according to a person familiar with matter who spoke on condition of anonymity because the voting isn’t public. Earlier, a Republican member of the agency said he had voted against the plan. The development leaves Democrat Wheeler -- and Globalstar -- needing to attract both remaining votes, including that of a Republican, for the plan to pass.

The agency can vote on matters in private, as it’s doing with Globalstar’s proposal. Votes from the other commissioners weren’t announced. Neil Grace, an FCC spokesman, didn’t comment on the votes.

The dissenting Republican, Ajit Pai, in an e-mailed statement on Thursday said adopting Wheeler’s proposal would “give a particular company special rights.”

Uncertain Airwaves Globalstar shares plunge as odds narrow on FCC airwaves approval

Source: Bloomberg

Wheeler on May 13 proposed letting Globalstar, based in Covington, Louisiana, offer mobile broadband service on frequencies now reserved for satellite signals.

Globalstar dropped as much as 70 percent, falling the most since trading in the stock began in 2006. Shares closed down 55 percent at 94 cents.

The company didn’t respond to an e-mail requesting comment.

Globalstar says its proposed service could expand U.S. Wi-Fi capacity by one third. Critics including Microsoft Corp. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google have said in filings that the plan risks interference with other mobile devices.

— With assistance by Susan Decker

(Updates share prices in sixth paragraph.)
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