back to article LightSquared pulls out all the stops to get FCC approval

LightSquared is fighting with every weapon at its disposal to win the war of public perception, and get FCC approval for its controversial network before the cash runs out. The wannabe-network operator reckons it has solved the GPS-interference problem, but the battle is now political. So it's accusing a prime government …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Consumers will end up paying...

    Consumers will end up paying extra in order to balance out all the bribes (aka political contributions).

  2. Figgus
    Thumb Down

    So their disruptive new technology is going to break a lot of good, functioning technology if it is approved.

    Why is this POS even up for discussion, again?

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So the GPS kit which does not abide by their licence conditions is "good functioning technology"? Why it is LightSquared's fault that GPS makers cut corners?

    What I would really like to see happen is the FCC go after the GPS makers for breaching their licence, but I'm too cynical to actually believe that is ever going to happen. Once again this is a case of somebody playing fast and loose with the law, getting caught, and then paying to have the rules changed in their favour on the premise that to do otherwise would be "just too hard (boo hoo)".

    Full disclosure: My smartphone has a GPS chip built in and I find the technology useful. I have no other interests in either side of the argument.

  4. bazza Silver badge
    Thumb Up


    "What I would really like to see happen is the FCC go after the GPS makers for breaching their licence, but I'm too cynical to actually believe that is ever going to happen"

    AFAIK You don't need a spectrum license as such to make a gps receiver. It is a receiver, not a transmitter. However, the stock FCC compliance statement that all the manufacturers have been putting on their GPS saying that it works turns out to be something they're not complying with afterall. They could be sued for misleading their customers.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "break a lot of good, functioning technology" - no, this doesn't seem to be the case. What it will break is any poorly implemented GPS technology that doesn't actually adhere to the GPS standards and licencing conditions.

    Now, that is bad for the consumers who have purchased the equipment, but it should surely be down to the vendor to correct the issue, and not mean that a new technology should be disallowed because the vendor of the old tech were too lazy/stupid/cheap (delete as appropriate, or insert your own less pejorative word) to actually build the kit properly?

    Disclosure: Lightsquared will be of no benefit to me, living in the UK, and I use GPS all the time, but just generic GPS not this high precision kit.

  6. Figgus

    "which will be knocked out if LightSquared is allowed to build its proposed LTE network in the radio frequencies previously reserved for satellite communications."

    GPS receivers are fine, they are only receiving transmission from their reserved bad.

    Would you label an FM radio faulty if I starting transmitting positional data in the middle of the FM band? HELL NO, that spectrum is reserved for FM traffic!

    You forget, the devices not only must take interference but they also cannot cause it, and Lightsquared FAILS that test spectacularly.

  7. Lance 3

    How about LightSquared abide by what the spectrum was BOUGHT for? It was sold for satellite usage and they are trying to use it in a way that will cause issues. That is the main point. If they use the spectrum for satellite communications, there would be NO interference issues. The root of the problem is that they are trying to use a much more powerful signal that is closer to the GPS receivers and it causes an issue.

  8. Tom 13

    You can't put a "stock FCC" anything on your product

    without going through appropriate testing and certification. Well, you might if you are a knock off, but that a whole other realm of fraud, and does not apply to the allegedly cheaply made GPS kit. If I went through testing and FCC certified my product, I'd certainly be pissed to find out I needed to retrofit my kit because the FCC changed the rules and it turned out their test didn't really test what I needed to comply with in the first place.

  9. bazza Silver badge

    @Lance 3

    The original designation of Lightsquared's band as being for satcoms is largely irrelevant. The satcom mobile phones themselves would likely have caused similar problems for GPS as Lightsquared's base stations. Ever heard a GSM mobile phone interferring with a set of loudspeakers? That's the sort of problem I'm on about. The problem would have been more proximate to the satcom mobile phones (they'd not have been as powerful as a basestation), but at the same time more widespread because everyone would have been carrying one.

    The GPS industry got away with it because the original owners of Lightsquared's band couldn't make it commercially successful, so the phones weren't widespread so no one noticed the problem. But the potential for a problem has been there all along ever since the band allocations were made decades ago.

    Also, we can't have a valuable piece of spectrum going unused just because the GPS industry can't be bothered to actually build their kit right. If you feel ripped off, complain to them, not Lightsquared.

  10. Lance 3

    They just need to use the spectrum they have as what it was originally intended for, now what LightSquared now wants to do.

  11. Wibble

    £ = M c^2

    Where M = mess

    It's nice to see some natural justice in progress. Let's hope lightspeed's backers loose their shirts.

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