Geo Week News

August 15, 2011

Good news on GPS v. LightSquared front


And by good news, I mean good news for people who are worried they’ll lose GPS service. Not good news for LightSquared and their significant technological investment, that’s for sure. FCC head Julius Genachowski is making noises that the FCC will not be moved by LightSquared’s arguments and that nothing that interferes with GPS service is going to be allowed to go forward.

Broadcast Engineering has coverage of the comments here. This is how they report it: 

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said the commission is not going to let LightSquared’s proposed hybrid satellite/terrestrial broadband wireless service interfere with the functioning of GPS technology. After he made his comments to the media, FCC officials said more testing of a modified LightSquared proposal is necessary to address interference issues. 

Ack! LightSquared fried my GPS!

Why are we even still talking about this? Well, what LightSquared is proposing would deliver low-cost, high-speed internet access to a huge swath of the country, opening up serious competition with cable providers and telcoms who are currently the only way for homeowners to get broadband-speed access. (Watch “The GPS/LightSquared fracas explained in five minutes,” if you need to get up to speed on this thing in general.)

They’re also sort of loathe to force LightSquared to flush their operation down the toilet when they sort of have a point and the service could lead to billions in private investment and new business models. They bought their piece of the spectrum fair and square, and they’re not technically using any real estate they’re not supposed to use. 

CED have LightSquared’s argument in a nutshell right here

“Had the GPS industry complied with DoD’s [Department of Defense] recommended filtering standards for GPS receivers, there would be no issue with LightSquared’s operations in the lower portion of its downlink band,” LightSquared regulatory affairs executive Jeff Carlisle said in a letter to the FCC. 

Read that CED article for the whole back and forth between LightSquared and Save Our GPS. They do everything but call each other poopyheads. 

When the FCC makes a final decision on this whole affair is anyone’s guess, but it looks, for now, like GPS isn’t in significant danger.

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