Groups Ask FCC To Prevent LightSquared Operation Close To GPS

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The Coalition to Save Our GPS has asked the Federal Communications Commission to rule that LightSquared can "never" use its upper 10 MHz of spectrum for a wholesale 4G wireless broadband network it plans to deliver using its satellite spectrum and a waiver from the FCC for terrestrial service.

In a filing with the commission, the coalition said the FCC should make the company "surrender" its use of that portion of the spectrum because "all of the evidence points to the fact that LightSquared will never be able to use the upper 10 MHz band for terrestrial operations" without interfering with critical GPS applications.

"The FCC owes it to all concerned to immediately act to ensure that this cloud is removed and that LightSquared is put on clear notice that it will not be allowed to pursue future terrestrial use of the upper MSS band spectrum."

LightSquared has pitched the FCC on letting it use the lower portion of its allocation, at reduced power, to launch the service, but also says it wants to keep open the possibility of eventually using the upper portion adjacent to the GPS band as well.

The coalition's members include dozens of GPS, shipping and travel companies and associations including TomTom, Garmin, UPS, FedX, the Air Transport Association, and the Association of American Railroads.

The FCC has said it will not let LightSquared proceed on either the lower or upper bands before more it has determined that the service will not interfere with GPS.

On a conference call with reporters, coalition members said that it has been working with LightSquared to try to find a solution in the lower band, but that the upper band should be off the table. They said it was not a case of letting the upper 10 MHz next to GPS lie fallow, but that it should be used for the satellite operations already using it, rather than the super high-powered terrestrial service.

A LightSquared spokes person had not returned an e-mail for comment at press time, but it has said that there are technological fixes to the GPS interference problems that it has already addressed through lowering power and focusing on the lower 10 MHz, and there are technological fixes to GPS receiver issues it is already investing in.

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