Washington -- A group of Republicans on the House Small Business Committee have asked the Federal Communications Commission not to approve LightSquared's wholesale national 4G wireless network until it has insured that it will not interfere with GPS devices.
That came in a letter from the group, led by Rep. Sam Graves (R-Missouri), the committee chairman, to FCC chairman Julius Genachowski.
The commission originally conditioned its waiver for the service, which uses satellite spectrum for terrestrial service, on resolving interference issues, and has reiterated that in putting the service on hold until more testing is done, which is slated to be completed by the end of November.
But the Republicans want to make sure they are on the same page as the commission in terms of what would qualify as a clean bill of health for LightSquared's service. In their view, that means no interference, period.
"We request that the Commission not proceed with approval of LightSquared's proposal until federal testing reveals that there will be no interference with GPS, " they wrote, "thereby ensuring that small businesses will not have to incur significant monetary burdens to try and filter potential interference to their GPS reception devices."
LightSquared has said there are several technical fixes and has agreed to invest in providing them. The FCC has said the service could provide price and service competition in the wireless broadband marketplace. Both the FCC and White House are promoting wireless broadband as a national priority.
The GPS industry says the high-powered transmissions in the satellite band can potentially interfere with navigation, weather reporting and a host of other vital operations.