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back to article Lightsquared cremation postponed

Troubled cellular disrupter LightSquared has apparently managed to extend its debt burden again, potentially keeping the company afloat until September next year. The deal with its debtors releases $190m of locked-up collateral, but still sees LightSquared paying off $6.25m a month on its $1.1bn debt as part of its bankruptcy …

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Wrong wrong wrong

"GPS interfering"

"the perception that it too could interfere with GPS systems"

"supposedly "GPS interfering" spectrum "

Check out the laws of physics and stop being so nice to lightsquared. GPS devices must have weak filtering to pick up a weak signal. Strong local signals will spill out onto the GPS band. No amount of shouting on behalf of lightsquared will change this fact.

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Re: Wrong wrong wrong

The obvious question is therefore "why did the FCC sell the spectrum?"

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@DavCrav

The spectrum that lightsquared has was always marked as "space to ground" spectrum, and lightsquared are perfectly in their rights to use it as such. The FCC said that they could also use it for "ground to ground" IF and only if they can do it without interfering with the GPS "space to ground" spectrum next door to it.

I don't think that the FCC have even changed their mind on that point; it's just been demonstrated that lightsquared can't do it without interfering.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Wrong wrong wrong

"GPS devices must have weak filtering to pick up a weak signal."

Poorly-designed and/or old implementations must have wide bandwidth filters. Properly designed GPS receivers are able to filter out the adjacent signals. Since the adjacent bands were left empty for many years, it wasn't an issue. Now the question is, do you force users of older GPS kit to modify or upgrade to benefit Lightsquared, even though said units worked correctly for many years?

"Strong local signals will spill out onto the GPS band"

Incorrect, the technical issue is the sensitivity of some GPS receivers "spills into" the Lightsquared band. I haven't seen any evidence that Lightsquared is radiating any RF energy outside of their assigned frequencies.

Backyard example: you are playing catch with your kid. Your neighbor drunkenly staggers into your yard and gets hit on the head with the ball. Are you at fault because your neighbor wandered into your yard? Surely you should keep a "guard band" of activity wide enough to protect your neighbor, right? I mean the last guy who lived in your house never did anything in the back yard, so your neighbor got used to staggering in with no ill effects.

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@"Drunk neighbor" fallacy

It's not quite that simple.

RF physics implies that there will be a bleed over effect into neighboring frequencies (any finite-time signal has necessarily infinite bandwidth). So, even with the best possible bandpass filters on GPS receivers *and* Lightsquared transmitters, some RF energy is going to bleed out into neighboring bands via harmonics of the fundamental frequency.

Normally, this isn't an issue because, for example, one TV station is transmitting roughly as strongly as another. However, when it comes to GPS and Lightsquared's proposed ground stations the Lightsquared signal was roughly a billion times stronger than GPS signals. Hell, GPS signals are already often below the thermal noise threshold which makes them hard to receive even without spectrum neighbors bleeding over into their spectrum.

Also, one cannot neglect that tighter bandpass filters inescapably lower the pass through signal, so just throwing out "well, put better filters on the receivers" is not as simple as it sounds because they will make it even harder to isolate the GPS signal. Don't presume that the GPS receiver engineers were just lazy, drunk monkeys who didn't pass undergrad RF engineering classes.

Lightsquared thought they could pull a fast one on the laws of physics. There was a reason they got their spectrum allocation for incredibly cheap. The FCC raised an eyebrow when Lightsquared claimed they could make this work, but let them try anyway. They failed. Had they bought more appropriate spectrum we wouldn't be having this discussion, but Lightsquared tried to be speciously clever instead.

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Confused

Why is a chapter 11 company repaying creditors at all? The whole idea of chapter 11 is you can blow all the company's remaining remaining assets on other companies you have shares in. $6m/month on legal fees arguing with the FCC should be light work for a competent bankruptcy law firm.

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Re: Confused

Chapt 11 is reorganization. Some debts or either forgiving, most are only reduced. You still have to pay your debts Chapt 13 is the one were you say the hell with it I'm walking a away.

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Pint

New Business Plan

A subscription service to provide high bandwidth, high precision, high resolutiion GPS corrections to the GPS crowd. With this huge bird covering North America, blasting high power corrections to the unwashed masses.

Step 1 - bankruptcy to shake off the creditors a la EuroTunnel

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Anonymous Coward

If they hadn't nailed it to the perch it would be pushing up the daisies.

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