Despite Ramped PR Efforts, LightSquared Can’t Beat Gov’t Scrutiny
In yet another blow to LightSquared, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued a public notice stating that LightSquared may not commence Ancillary Terrestrial Component (ATC) operations until the FCC and National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) find that GPS interference concerns have been satisfactorily resolved. (For more, see LightSquared’s Heavy Regulatory, Technical Burdens. Will It Fly?).
The FCC’s notice said in part, "Following extensive comments received…the Federal Communications Commission, in consultation with NTIA, has determined that additional targeted testing is needed to ensure that any potential commercial terrestrial services offered by LightSquared will not cause harmful interference to GPS operations."
The chorus of voices decrying LightSquared’s proposed hybrid satellite terrestrial wireless network has grown louder and stronger. There’s even a Website – Coalition to Save Our GPS – dedicated to fighting LightSquared’s network.
LightSquared has revised its planned deployment to operate terrestrial transmitters only in the lower 10 megahertz of its spectrum. In its Notice yesterday, the FCC wrote, "The results thus far from the testing using the lower 10 megahertz showed significant improvement compared to tests of the upper 10 megahertz, although there continue to be interference concerns, e.g., with certain types of high precision GPS receivers, including devices used in national security and aviation applications. Additional tests are therefore necessary."
For its part, LightSquared has ramped up its public-relations machine, continuing to send announcements that it has signed new wholesale wireless partners. (For more, see LightSquared Racks Up Partners). And the company sometimes blames the GPS industry for the interference problems. (For more, see LightSquared: GPS Industry Failed to Comply with Filtering Standards).
Undoubtedly, LightSquared’s troubles are being closely monitored by DISH Network, which in August proposed a similar hybrid satellite terrestrial network named “Gamma.” (For more, see DISH Proposes Gamma Mobile Network).