LightSquared - The Fat Lady Just Sang

And it wont be broadcast across LightSquared's proposed wireless network

Multiple media sources, including the Wall Street Journal, are reporting that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has decided to revoke its year-old decision to allow the company LIghtSquared from proceeding with its mobile broadband system because of concerns it will interfere with GPS receivers.

LightSquared wants to create a hybrid satellite-terrestrial mobile broadband system.  It received provisional FCC approval to proceed in January 2011 as long as it could demonstrate that its signals would not interfere with Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers that are ubiquitous in the aviation, automobile, personal data assistant and many other markets -- not to mention national security.   The 2011 FCC decision set off a firestorm of opposition that resulted in a flurry of congressional hearings lambasting LightSquared.  The most recent was last week.

Although the FCC website does not appear to have any reports today about actions regarding LightSquared, media sources such as National Journal, Washington Post, and the New York Times cite an FCC statement (the Post identified it as an email from the FCC's Tammy Sun) as saying that the FCC will indefinitely suspend its January 2011 decision.   The FCC apparently plans to issue a request for public comment tomorrow.

The FCC action responds to a letter today from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).  The FCC governs use of the radio frequency spectrum by the private sector, while NTIA governs its use by the goverment.   NTIA wrote to the FCC today saying that recent tests show there is "no practical way to mitigate the potential interference at this time."

LightSquared insists that the problem is that manufacturers of GPS receivers are to blame for any interference.   It says that it designed its system in conformance with the FCC's technical requirements, but the GPS receivers were built so that they listen for signals outside the band in which they are supposed to be operating.  The company asserts that the recent tests cited by the NTIA were flawed.  

Source: SpacePolicyOnline & WSJ


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