back to article Fox turns LightSquared political

Wannabe network operator LightSquared is under attack from Republicans who have asked for an investigation into whether the White House pressured its Air Force Space Commander into changing his testimony on possible GPS interference caused by LightSquared's activities. The accusation is fiercely denied by LightSquared and the …


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  1. mraak


    Dems are known to buy political influence with their hidden donor money </sarcasm>

  2. Wile E. Veteran

    Pot, meet kettle

    If the head of LightSquared had donated to Republicans, Fox would be praising him to the skies and the Republicans would be holding him up as a great example of "Free Enterprise" at work and telling the GPS industry to TFFAARD.

    AFAIK, GPS devices are built under Part 15 of the FCC regulations, which long predates the existence of GPS. Part 15 which also applies to televisions, domestic radios, cordless phones and a myriad of other consumer and industrial products, clearly and unequivocally states it is the responsibility of the RECEIVER to adequately handle interference from transmitting devices in other licensed services provided those devices are operating within the technical specifications specified for its service.

    There's a long history of battles between manufacturers of "receiving devices" who are trying to keep their designs simple and cheap so they can maximize profits, not give the purchasers a better deal. In the 1950's and 1960's the battle was between television manufacturers and ham radio operators and commercial services (police, taxi services, radio-dispatched couriers and others) who occupied the 30-50 MHz VHF low band. In the 1970's through 1990's the shoe was somewhat on the other foot as hams and VHF manufacturers operating in the neighborhood of 150MHz against pager services operating high-power transmitters near 162 MHz. Even the 150MHz marine band (including the 156.800 MHz international distress and calling frequency) was affected.

    The battle between LightSquared and the GPS industry is nothing new and history has shown there is always a technological solution, sometimes involving good RF design practice instead of the cheapest possible designs and sometimes it has in involved extra bandpass filtering on the input of the receiving device. Often it involves both.

    The issue is really about design costs and profit margins, not some inherent, unsolvable technical problem.

    1. Aitor 1

      There is a technological solution, and that is grouping frecuencies so low signal to noise / low power services are grouped together.

      That WAS the solution, until a private company bought those frecuencies so their buddies could change the rules.

      As for your tech part.. it is not SO easy with a GPS.. you know, you are trying to use a signal emitted from a satellite, using a small and essentially non directional antenna. What you suggest is trying to speak with your aunt in the middle of a Metallica concert, so metallica can earn money giving a concert in a residential zone surrounded by hospitals.

      It is CHEAP to use filters.. unless you need to cram inside a small unit.. and don't want the signal loss... so no, it is not reasonable to put high power services in those blocks, even if it is a legal requiremen, because the technical requirements where utterly changed.

    2. Eddy Ito Silver badge

      So that's the gambit

      Spur the economy by forcing the millions of current GPS owners to upgrade to the new super receivers that don't stomp on LightSquared's toes. It's a good thing it wasn't a system designed by the military or Light^2 would be up a creek without a compass. Given all the trouble that phone makers have with antenna design, I'm sure it won't be a problem to integrate one more solution into the tiny box. I can't wait to hear the responses from the smartphone makers, oh yeah it will be "get a new phone, not that big of a deal."

      So do you think Mercedes, et al. will be offering software upgrades to "fix" the problem?

    3. Tom 13

      Except when the issue isn't the manufacturers of the new devices

      but the installed user base of hundred of millions, possibly even billions of people, who are already using the technology under the pre-existing rules.

  3. Bill Cumming

    Urgh! Faux News

    The President could single handily save an orphanage from burning to the ground and Fox 'n' Friends would still make it sound like he started the fire just to look good!

    1. redhunter

      Same could have been said for President Bush and the Today Show, GMA, and The Early Show.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      This president and his White House administration staff have the biggest public spin apparatus in the history of American presidency. Tony Blair, inventor of extreme spin, would be proud.

      The most recent example of Obama's social media gabfest is Luckily, informed citizens regardless of political affiliation, have seen this as nothing more than a campaign fund harvesting engine (try reporting an 'attack' without being redirected to a donate page).

      Fortunately, people have seen through this pathetic rouse and the site has been thoroughly lampooned via Tweets (#attactwatch) by both left and right wing voters. The results are highly amusing.

  4. Floormeister

    Great News

    I am glad that the US media has finally gotten on to the issue of conflicts of interest around private companies gaming rules for profit and garnering big contracts. Oh wait, they are only looking at one company because of their prevailing political ideology.

    I mean the country gave (and are still spending) billions of dollars to Republican Friends on "Homeland Security" and "Defense" and "state relations" with little evidence of benefit (and always at ridiculous cost) with major Republican donors (And Democrat as well but there was far more going on and ignored on the Republican side). Even today with "budget problems" the most "anti-government" Republican are supporting "their" ridiculous pork.

    The tragic problem in the US over the last 30 years is that Democrats support inefficient government spending for their friends while Republicans destroy efficient government spending for their friends.

    1. Tom 13

      The Dept of Homeland Security was more

      Democrat than Republican inspired. Big, unaccountable, unionized government agencies aren't really a Republican thing.

  5. Magellan

    Register shilling for Media Matters?

    For crying out loud. This story was being pushed by Tina Brown's "Daily Beast ", a left wing web news site, and by Arianna Huffington's "Huffington Post", another left wing web site.

    Somehow, I doubt Media Matters took notice of America's political left's disgust at the political favors being bought in Washington D.C.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Everything old is new again?

    Is this Solyndra all over again? Time will tell

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Thank god the Republicans have no billionaire donors...

    ...that buy THEIR votes.

    And by the way...I STILL believe in the Tooth please don't busrt my bubble & tell me this isn't true. OK?

    (By the way...any news organization that uses the moniker "Fair & Balanced", can't possibly be so. Just ask Rebekah Brooks.)

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I'm no fan of lightsquared as my professional paranoia thinks GPS is too useful to meddle with, but I do recall a certain president of a certain company making voting machines, of all things, openly declaring he'd "deliver the elections" to the republicans. You didn't hear them complain then, did you? Integrity restricted to just those occassions when it doesn't inconvenience you doesn't count as integrity.

    Just like blackwater, that bunch is still in business albeit under a different name. Can't help but idly wonder whether such a move wouldn't help for lightsquared too.

  9. James Woods

    Hey look el reg is trying to be political

    I'd keep to posting tid bits about the industry and not trying to enter a realm you don't have the mental capacity over.

    The minute any company deals with and/or gets deals from government it's a political move. I guess it surprises you that the democrats are in bed with corporate america just as much (if not more) than your friends on the left.

  10. Paul Shirley

    how much have they budgeted to fix smartphones?

    I remain puzzled by why they think fscking the GPS on a hundred million plus smartphones is in any way workable or acceptable. I can believe they could retrofit mostly effective filters to many classes of GPS device but that's not possible on deployed phones and I strongly doubt it's an workable option on new builds.

    Seems the US always prefers vicious competition in the market to any sort of forward planning, whatever the consequences.

  11. johnwerneken

    Yet Another Reason for Perry for President

    Democratic fascination with interest group politics continues to disgust me, as well as their technological ignorance on virtually all matters. Perry for President!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      More of a Cain supporter myself

      but since it will send at least one rabid leftist a hissy-fit, I gave you an upvote.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      " Perry for President!"

      If there was ANY politician in the US who paid for's this dirtbag.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    when a lot of folks pointed out a similar situation with Solyndra financiers, the same sort of defenses were made that "politics were irrelevant". Ooops.

    The same people who can't resist pointing out any specious connection to any current or former GOP politician and any military or energy companies are all butt-hurt when the game is played on them.

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