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FCC Rejects LightSquared 4G Network Amid GPS Concerns

Feb. 15, 2012 - 11:53AM   |  
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The U.S. Federal Communications Commission is rejecting plans by wireless broadband firm LightSquared to build a 4G network on spectrum adjacent to Global Positioning System signals.

FCC’s Feb. 14 decision comes after several rounds of tests by federal agencies, including the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), that warned of the harm LightSquared’s proposed network would pose on GPS services that are critical for first responders, the airline industry and others.

In a Feb. 14 letter to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, NTIA Administrator Lawrence Strickling said his agency’s independent tests and analysis show that “LightSquared’s proposed mobile broadband network will impact GPS services” and there is “no practical way to mitigate the potential interference at this time.”

NTIA is tasked with advising the president on telecommunications and information policy issues.

FCC’s International Bureau issued LightSquared a conditional waiver order in January 2011 that would have allowed LightSquared to provide commercial services if tests showed the network would not interfere with GPS.

“The Commission clearly stated from the outset that harmful interference to GPS would not be permitted,” said FCC Spokeswoman Tammy Sun in a Feb. 14 statement.

Sun said the FCC is proposing to suspend LightSquared’s conditional waiver and said it will issue a public notice Feb. 15 seeking comment on NTIA’s findings.

In a Feb. 14 statement, LightSquared said “it remains committed to finding a resolution with the federal government and the GPS industry to resolve all remaining concerns.”

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