LightSquared Attempts To Bypass the FCC

 - July 7, 2011, 10:10 AM

Possibly recognizing that the July 1 final report on GPS testing showed that interference was worse than predicted, LightSquared lawyers are now bypassing the FCC and submitting technical papers directly to the UN’s International Telecommunications Union (ITU) in Geneva, according to published reports. A body similar to ICAO, the ITU allocates frequency bands within the radio spectrum to different user groups–such as aviation, surface and weather–and regulates and monitors their use. ITU rules are regarded as much stricter than the typical recommendations made by ICAO. Meanwhile, both LightSquared and the GPS community are accelerating their public-relations campaigns. LightSquared is announcing initial customers and statements of support from Internet and voice-over-Internet providers for its 4G broadband system, while the GPS industry warns of “ominous test results” regarding interference from LightSquared’s signals that could become “a matter of life and death” for first responders, such as ambulances, police and fire department vehicles. In Congress, the House of Representatives included in a financial appropriations bill a prohibition on further FCC expense on LightSquared’s proposal, even including staff salaries, until the company presents a complete GPS protection plan.