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Harbinger's LightSquared announces new public outreach initiative and the political clout behind it

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Byron Dorgan
Opalesque Industry Update - Hedge fund manager Philip Falcone may not be thrilled with one politician for alluding to him as a serial violator of securities laws, (Source), but that doesn’t mean that Falcone doesn’t value political ties. Falcone’s enormous investment, 4G wireless telecommunications network, LightSquared announced on Thursday that former North Dakota Senator Byron Dorgan, along with former Texas Representatives George Nethercutt and Charlie Stenholm were joining Empower Rural America Initiative that the firm created.

According to a statement the initiative will work to:

  • Resolve any GPS related problems related to precision agriculture and other areas;
  • Ensure that the LightSquared satellite network can help rural markets augment their broadband and GPS services
  • Address public safety concerns
  • Help close the broadband adoption gap in rural America

The announcement of the initiative comes on the heels of a $265m asset raise announced this week (bringing the firm’s total one year asset raising to $2.3bn).

Byron Dorgan served in the United States Senate from 1992 through early 2011. Amongst the things he was known for while serving public office was his strong position backing Net Neutrality legislation, and was one of only 8 senators who voted not to appeal Glass-Steagall in 1999, saying “I think we will look back in 10 years’ time and say we should not have done this, but we did because we forgot the lessons of the past, and that that which is true in the 1930s is true in 2010.”

Regarding his involvement in the Initiative formed by LightSquared, Doran said, ““There is an overwhelming need for reliable wireless broadband for public safety, education, healthcare and economic development in rural America. We can have a robust, accurate GPS network and also create a substantial new resource for rural America in the form of a wireless network that reaches areas that still don’t have broadband access.”

Kirsten Bischoff

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