Feeds

LightSquared faces challenge from the House

Yet another hurdle to be jumped

Application security programs and practises

Two US Representatives have tabled an amendment which will stop box 'o frogs wireless plan LightSquared from ever building its network, at least until it can prove a negative.

The amendment requires LightSquared to prove that its planned pan-USA LTE network won't interfere with GPS systems, before the FCC can spend any money altering the company's licence to enable it to build that network. That's despite LightSquared already agreeing to shift frequencies, and ahead of the cross-industry report on the subject which isn't due to be published until next week.

The amendment has been tabled by two Republicans, Steve Austria (Ohio) and Kevin Yoder (Kansas), and leans a little towards hyperbole in claiming that LightSquared is planning "a ground-based mobile broadband system with a signal that is roughly 1 billion times more powerful than satellite-based GPS signals, within a spectrum immediately adjacent to the GPS".

That's also inaccurate, given last week's announcement that LightSquared would be shuffling away from the GPS bands in what must be considered an admission that its service (as originally envisioned) would have caused significant problems for GPS users.

The problem with running right beside the GPS signal is twofold. Firstly, the bell-shaped LightSquared signal will inevitably leak into the neighbouring band, but equally a cheapo (or highly sensitive) GPS receiver will pick up signals from neighbouring bands as it strains to pick up the weak satellite transmission.

LightSquared reckons that its signal is very square (rather than bell-shaped) and so doesn't leak much, and that fewer than half a percent of GPS kit is that cheap/sensitive and that this can be fixed, but it also argues that the GPS industry has had every opportunity to raise this issue years ago and it is more than a little annoyed to have it all come to a head now.

The company points to its FCC filings going back to 2001 which recognise the potential for GPS interference, and takes some responsibility for mitigating it. But LightSquared also wants to share that responsibility, claiming that while it has worked to ensure transmissions don't leak into neighbouring bands, it is up to the GPS industry to ensure receivers are only receiving in the GPS band, as the FCC put it:

"We emphasize that responsibility for protecting services rests not only on new entrants but also on incumbent users themselves, who must use receivers that reasonably discriminate against reception of signals outside their allocated spectrum."

The GPS industry has nothing to gain from LightSquared, and no wish to use more expensive receivers which could be tuned more accurately. The incumbent mobile operators have an enormous amount to lose from gaining a competitor who is using (satellite) spectrum for an LTE network.

LightSquared still hasn't the money to build that network, and there aren't any devices that could use it anyway, but if the House of Representatives does pass the amendment then it will be one more hurdle that LightSquared will have to jump if it is ever going to be more than a mad scheme to change the wireless world. ®

HP ProLiant Gen8: Integrated lifecycle automation

More from The Register

next story
Google Nest, ARM, Samsung pull out Thread to strangle ZigBee
But there's a flaw in Google's IP-based IoT system
Orange spent weekend spamming customers with TXTs
Zero, not infinity, is the Magic Number customers want
Want to beat Verizon's slow Netflix? Get a VPN
Exec finds stream speed climbs when smuggled out
US freemium mobile network eyes up Europe
FreedomPop touts 'free' calls, texts and data
'Two-speed internet' storm turns FCC.gov into zero-speed website
Deadline for comments on net neutrality shake-up extended to Friday
GoTenna: How does this 'magic' work?
An ideal product if you believe the Earth is flat
NBN Co execs: No FTTN product until 2015
Faster? Not yet. Cheaper? No data
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Mobile application security vulnerability report
The alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, and the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.