Satellite communications service provider Satcom Direct has unveiled the company’s first certified aviation hardware product, a router that integrates with any satcom and manages cabin communications, runs software apps and connects to 3G/4G cellular networks. The new Satcom Direct Router (SDR) weighs less than 10 pounds, meets DO-160G and DO-178B Level E (soon D) standards and will be available in May. “We wanted to make this [router] as robust and flexible as possible,” said Jim Jensen, Satcom Direct founder and owner.
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 filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Monday, explaining that it needs “breathing room” to resolve regulatory issues that have prevented it from building its planned 4G broadband wireless network.
Despite last month’s conclusion by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), a joint panel of nine federal agencies, that LightSquared’s plan for a 4G broadband system could not coexist with GPS and should therefore be folded by March 2, the company appealed to the FCC for a 30-day extension to prove its concept is still valid.
On Tuesday the FCC rejected LightSquared’s plans for a 4G broadband network in the L-band frequency, following a final recommendation by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), which is a joint panel consisting of nine federal agencies.
LightSquared’s planned nationwide 4G broadband network got yet another reprieve from Sprint today. Last year, Sprint agreed to provide $15 billion to LightSquared for infrastructure needs, with one condition: LightSquared must obtain FCC approval by Dec. 31, 2011. The FCC didn’t come through–saying LightSquared has yet to prove its transmissions will not interfere with GPS signals–but last month Sprint extended its offer until the end of this month. And with barely 12 hours to spare, Sprint again extended this until mid-March.
“It is the unanimous conclusion of the test findings by the National Space-Based Positioning, Navigation and Timing (PNT) Executive Committee (ExCom) agencies that both LightSquared’s original and modified plans for its proposed mobile network would cause harmful interference to many GPS receivers,” the committee wrote in a letter sent to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) on Friday. The PNT ExCom–composed of nine U.S.
On Tuesday, the FCC approved LightSquared’s fallback plan to move from a frequency close to that of GPS in the upper L-band–where tests had shown severe interference–to a lower 10-MHz portion of the same spectrum where reduced interference was expected.
LightSquared is running an advertising campaign in Washington, D.C., that includes prominent multiple advertisements along the platforms of downtown stations of the city’s Metro system serving Capitol Hill, FAA headquarters and other key government offices. Photo at left was taken this morning by an AIN staffer at L'Enfant Plaza Metro station.
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.