Feeds

LightSquared demands FCC ruling

Patience – and money – running out fast

Boost IT visibility and business value

LightSquared has filed a petition for Declaratory Ruling with the FCC for confirmation of its right to exist, as it's running out of cash fast and needs a decision.

The company was expecting a decision by the end of the year, but confidence in its plan has been shaken by the selective leaking of test results and ongoing claims that the GPS industry is too big to be put at risk, so now LightSquared is demanding that the FCC state unequivocally that GPS manufacturers have no right to protection, or restitution, from LightSquared's business model.

The problem is that the (weak) GPS signal is right beside that licensed by LightSquared for mobile telephones. The FCC granted LightSquared that licence, including a change of use as the bands were previously reserved for satellite-phones only. The problem is that some GPS kit listens too broadly, and can thus pick up (and be overwhelmed by) the neighbouring signal from LightSquared's new network.

As the company's petition (PDF) explains: "The commercial GPS industry has manufactured, and sold to unsuspecting consumers, unlicensed and poorly designed GPS receivers that 'listen' for radio signals both in the 'RNSS' [GPS] frequency band ... as well as across the adjacent 'MSS' frequency band that is not intended for GPS use, and in which LightSquared is licensed".

LightSquared has already agreed to abandon its upper frequency (which is right next to the GPS bands) and has reduced the transmission power in the lower band as well as edging away to reduce leakage. It has also financed the development of filters which it claims would allow any GPS kit to coexist with the LightSquared network for a few dollars (once fitted).

Even without the filters LightSquared reckons the other mitigations mean every mobile phone tested works fine, so it's only the very high-precision (or very cheaply made) kit which remains a problem.

The GPS industry wants the neighbouring bands kept clear forever, to protect a service which is too important to risk by filling nearby frequencies with telephony. Legally that argument holds little water, but despite that it's persuasive reasoning - there are millions of GPS devices being used daily, and while most of them won't need better filters a significant number of them will.

The problem, for the FCC, is that LightSquared has already invested hundreds of millions, quite possibly billions, of dollars into the venture, so the FCC is going to have to find a damn good reason to reject the claim or risk being sued for going back on the agreement.

LightSquared needs to raise more cash, and within the next three months if Reuters is to be believed, but no one is going to invest in the box-'o-frogs plan until the FCC makes a public decision, which is why this petition has been filed. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Déjà vu: Virgin Media jacks up broadband prices
Screw copper phone lines, we're UNIQUE, bleats telco
UK fuzz want PINCODES on ALL mobile phones
Met Police calls for mandatory passwords on all new mobes
Netflix swallows yet another bitter pill, inks peering deal with TWC
Net neutrality crusader once again pays up for priority access
Fifteen zero days found in hacker router comp romp
Four routers rooted in SOHOpelessly Broken challenge
New Sprint CEO says he will lower axe on staff – but prices come first
'Very disruptive' new rates to be revealed next week
US TV stations bowl sueball directly at FCC's spectrum mega-sale
Broadcasters upset about coverage and cost as they shift up and down the dials
UK mobile coverage is BETTER than EVER, networks tell Ofcom
Regulator swallows this line and parrots it back out at us. What are they playing at?
What's the nature of your emergency, Vodafone?
Oh, you've dialled the wrong number for ad fibs, rules ASA
EE network whacked by 'PDP authentication failure' blunder
Carrier is 'aware' of cockup, working on a fix NOW
ROAD TRIP! An FCC road trip – Leahy demands net neutrality debate across US
You crashed watchdog's site, now time to crash its ears
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
BYOD's dark side: Data protection
An endpoint data protection solution that adds value to the user and the organization so it can protect itself from data loss as well as leverage corporate data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?