LightSquared on Life Support, but Not Dead Yet

 - September 27, 2012, 3:58 PM

Since the withdrawal of approval in February for LightSquared’s planned use of frequencies adjacent to those of GPS to set up a nationwide 4G mobile broadband network, things have recently taken an unexpected turn. The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) withdrew LightSquared’s approval earlier this year after transmission tests revealed interference issues with GPS receivers.

LightSquared lobbyists, including a former FCC chairman, now appear to have convinced some legislators and federal bureaucrats to study the FCC Technological Advisory Council’s upcoming report on GPS receiver standards. The company’s lobbyists contend that the report could even show that LightSquared might not have been entirely to blame for all, or even most, of the problems encountered in the earlier tests. “It may have been a bum rap,” one industry observer told AIN.

Perhaps not coincidentally, a major report of a Presidential advisory committee has recommended a wholesale review of spectrum allocations, including transferring significant blocks of currently unused government frequencies to private industry. This is a concept strongly advocated by LightSquared, which is seeking to secure an alternate spectrum not in the GPS frequency neighborhood for its planned broadband network.


Lightsquared purchased bandwidth for satellite communications, and paid the normal cheap prices for satellite bandwidth. Any swap of frequencies that would give them terrestrial bandwidth in exchange for their cheap satellite bandwidth would be robbing the taxpayers and giving billion dollar favors to Lightsquared on the backs of communications companies that have paid America dearly for the terrestrial bandwidth they licensed in fair auction. If Lightsquared wants to build a terrestrial network (the do!) then they should buy terrestrial bandwidth like all the other businesses have done.

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