Public Sucked Into LightSquared Squabble
LightSquared got some breathing space Friday as the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) granted a public comment period on the carrier's petition about its rights to use the spectrum licensed to it.
On Dec. 20, LightSquared petitioned the agency about the waiver it issued on Jan. 23 2011 to allow the operator to build an LTE network in L-Band spectrum. The L-Band spectrum is right next to bandwidth used by GPS receivers and some of them would "see" transmissions from the planned network, causing interference.
LightSquared said that the GPS industry had known for eight years that a terrestrial network in the L-Band spectrum was coming from LightSquared or its predecessors. Yet the industry didn't change the design of their receivers. "Commercial GPS receivers are not licensed, do not operate under any service rules, and thus are not entitled to any interference protection whatsoever," LightSquared claimed in its December petition.
The FCC has now opened up a public comment period on this. It will run until Feb. 27 with follow-ups due by March 13.
Why this matters The FCC move appears to give LightSquared a bit more time for testing before the vultures start to circle. The company is arguing against previous government tests that say the planned network does cause interference with GPS. LightSquared claims collusion with the GPS industry "rigged" the results and says that only the FCC can decide what happens with the spectrum.
LightSquared's network partner, Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S), has put its deal with the operator on hold until the interference issue is resolved. Harbinger Capital Partners LP -backed LightSquared, meanwhile, has said that it has enough money to continue operations for the next several quarters.
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- Sprint's $13.5B Jump to LTE With LightSquared
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— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile