ROUNDTABLE: New Thinking/ New Technologies for Spectrum Utilization
New technologies, next-gen platforms, innovative business and service models; New models for delivering alerts to the public and mission-critical video to first responders; Rethinking spectrum silos in a converged world.
Moderator: Lydia Beyoud, Telecom Reporter, Bloomberg BNA
Sam Matheny, CTO & EVP, National Assoc. of Broadcasters
John Dooley, Managing Director, Jarvinian Spectrum Ventures
John Kneuer, President and Founder, JKC Consulting
GENEVA (AP) — Motivated by the mystery disappearance of a Malaysia Airlines jetliner last year, nations have set aside radio frequencies so that airplanes can be tracked by satellite — not just from the ground.
The agreement to set aside the frequency 1087.7-1092.3 MHz band in essence paves the way for planes that already send signals to ground stations to direct those signals toward space too.
The accord was announced Wednesday at a Geneva conference organized by U.N. communications agency ITU. Civil aviation regulator ICAO has expressed support for the idea, as long as current safety measures aren't jeopardized.
The March 2014 disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight 370 with 239 people on board exposed weaknesses in worldwide air navigation systems. Debris from the Boeing 777 was found in the Indian Ocean in July.
In mid-2012, IDT and Rapaport had another similar problem. Rapaport, through his company Spectrum
Holdings Technologies, LLC (“Spectrum Holdings”), acquired 200 licenses in 39 GHz from Level 3 and
PTPMS Communications in 122 BEAs that were about to expire because the substantial service
requirements were due on June 1, 2012. Spectrum Holdings was assigned ownership of these licenses
on May 31, 2012. Amazingly, after just 12 days after getting the licenses, by June 12, 2012, Spectrum
Holdings filed their Notifications of Construction/Coverage for every license. How did Spectrum Holdings
build up systems in every state in the country in just 12 days? The answer is, they didn’t. Spectrum
Holdings simply used the same template as IDT, used find/replace in a word processor to change IDT to
Spectrum Holdings, left the rest of the specifications and locations of the site exactly the same, and got
these new licenses approved. Problem solved. In 2013, Spectrum Holdings assigned their licenses to
Straight Path Communications, who also now owns the former IDT Spectrum licenses.
Under FCC renewal requirements for each license, IDT had to show that they constructed systems to
either 1) broadcast 39 GHz signals with 4 point-to-point links per 1 million population within each
county-sized Basic Economic Area (BEA) service areas or 2) under the point-to-multipoint safe harbor
established for LMDS provide coverage to 20 percent of the population of the license's BEA service area.
For each BEA, there are 14 licenses consisting of 100 MHz Channels between 38.6-40.0 GHz. However,
leasing the sites for the systems, building the hardware, and operating the radio and antennas in all 173
BEAs across all 50 states would cost a lot of money, at least $10-12 million dollars by another (now
bankrupt) spectrum holder company’s estimates.
But, IDT did not actually build most, if not all of the other 172 systems as required, but still filed the
Required Notification of Construction/Coverages falsely asserting that they did build them. The FCC,
lacking the manpower to inspect each and every application, and having a trust-based license renewal
process, approved those licenses for renewal, and IDT got almost all of their licenses renewed cross-
country. This was quite unusual, because the other large holders of 39 GHz licenses (FiberTower,
Airband), attempted to renew but still failed to meet the substantial service requirements and let their
Now, however, a new allegation has emerged in addition to the value of STRP's questionable spectrum valuation: namely fraud, as we read in a report by another "short-focused" research entity, Sinclair Upton Research, whose work we have profiled on numerous occasions in the past.
It says "There is overwhelming evidence that the vast majority of Straight Path Communications' ("Straight Path") 39 GHz spectrum licenses' Required Notification of Construction/Coverage Applications were obtained under fraudulent misrepresentation, because the systems were never built on the sites as specified in the filings."
The conclusion of the report's author (who prudently disclaims "Due to the danger of retaliation from the company and individuals involved, this report was written under a pseudonym, Sinclair Upton Research. People who commit fraud for millions of dollars are willing to do anything to keep their illegitimate gains.") is that the stock is most likely worthless:
Thus, the fair value of Straight Path stock without ownership of the 39 GHz licenses and being banned from future FCC spectrum participation is $1.00-2.00 per share, or approximately liquidation value.
It adds a recommendation to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and regulatory authorities "to immediately open an investigation into the license renewal process of Straight Path's 39 GHz licenses and ask Straight Path for proof that the Required Constructions were met for all of the systems claimed to be built in the 173 Basic Economic Areas. Companies should not be allowed to lie to the US Government and get away with it."