FCC to reject LightSquared's application to build LTE network

Alex Wagner
Editorial Director of News and Content from Omaha, NE
Published: February 14, 2012

LightSquared logo

So far LightSquared hasn't had much luck in its quest to get FCC approval so that it can begin building a wholesale 4G LTE network. There have been concerns that the network will interfere with GPS devices, and despite LightSquared's attempts to convince the FCC and NTIA otherwise, it doesn't look like the company will be getting the green light. The FCC has issued a statement saying that it plans to revoke the conditional permission that it gave LightSquared to build an LTE network. In a letter to the FCC, the NTIA says that it has concluded that LightSquared’s network will affect GPS devices and that there's "no practical way to mitigate the potential interference at this time." LightSquared has issued a response saying that it "profoundly disagrees" with the NTIA's findings and that it is still committed to working toward a resolution with the government and GPS industry.

It's nice to see that LightSquared is still dedicated to get the thumbs up from the FCC for its LTE network, but things definitely aren't looking good for the company. Additionally, it's worth noting that Sprint has given LightSquared a mid-March deadline to gain FCC approval, with the carrier saying that it will give its partnership with LightSquared the axe if the firm isn't able to get its plans approved by the middle of next month. It'll definitely be interesting to see where things go from here. Until we hear more on the matter, you can find LightSquared's full press release down below.

LightSquared Remains Committed to Finding Resolution

RESTON, Va., February 14, 2012 – In response to the NTIA's recommendation to the FCC today regarding LightSquared's network, the company said it remains committed to finding a resolution with the federal government and the GPS industry to resolve all remaining concerns. LightSquared is confident that the parties will continue the on-going efforts to explore all engineering options and alternatives to find a solution to this difficult issue.

The NTIA's recommendation relied on the flawed conclusions of the PNT ExCOM about LightSquared's potential impact on GPS.

LightSquared profoundly disagrees with both the NTIA's and the PNT's recommendations, which disregard more than a decade of regulatory orders, and in doing so, jeopardize private enterprise, jobs and investment in America's future. NTIA relies on interference standards that have never been used in this context, and were forced by the GPS community in order to reach the conclusions presented today. This, together with a severely flawed testing process that relied on obsolete and niche devices, shows that the FCC should take the NTIA's recommendation with a generous helping of salt. Despite LightSquared's success in finding technical solutions and the acknowledgement by a senior government official that GPS receivers are specifically designed to rely on spectrum licensed to LightSquared, it is extremely disappointing that this recommendation was made today.

LightSquared recognizes, however, that this is just one step in the process, and it remains committed to working toward a resolution. The final regulatory decision rests now with the FCC, which is the proper authority to resolve this issue. The company fully expects the agency to recognize LightSquared's legal rights to build its $14 billion, privately financed network. There is no question that an America where both the GPS industry and LightSquared's network can co-exist is a stronger one for any administration that believes in competitive markets and job growth.

Via Engadget, NTIA, Wall Street Journal, All Things D