GPS Coalition: LightSquared Misusing Spectrum

 - November 1, 2011, 3:42 PM

After LightSquared made statements that it has a “legal right” to build a network of terrestrial 4G broadband transmitters in the U.S., the Coalition to Save Our GPS last Thursday stepped up its attack of the company’s plans. Tests of LightSquared’s transmitters earlier this year showed that they interfere with GPS signals. According to the coalition, “LightSquared did not pay for and does not have a ‘legal right’ to build a nationwide terrestrial network in the MSS band.” MSS stands for mobile satellite spectrum, a quiet corner of the radio band reserved for very low power satellite-to-earth signals, such as GPS. Spectrum is in high demand, and commercial broadcast frequencies accordingly sell for tens of billions of dollars. But because of their restrictions, MSS frequencies are much cheaper. In fact, LightSquared bought a complete satellite system and two MSS frequencies for $2 billion. However, the GPS coalition said LightSquared is trying to circumvent FCC restrictions to convert these frequencies into a terrestrial spectrum that, according to a report published by LightSquared-hired consultants, would be worth $12 billion. LightSquared “is using legal double speakto hide a $10 billion spectrum windfall–money that should be going to U.S. taxpayers,” the coalition charged.