FCC shuts down LightSquared broadband testing

I have not had the time to keep up with this story, but I do have a healthy interest in commercial GPS and aviation. In short, the LightSquared deal is another where the Obama administration’s FCC was trying to force a losing concept into reality.

Sounds familiar does it not?

To make this short … LightSquared wanted to launch a new wholesale wireless broadband Internet service covering just about everywhere by using part of the bandwidth spectrum close to that used by GPS navigation satellites. The GPS system supports everything from applications on your smart phone to advanced aviation GPS systems.

That noted, you would not want to have something messing with the accuracy of those devices.

There were a lot of companies who made a bet on LightSquared, who was planning to offer wholesales wireless broadband access to smaller companies to increase competition. I’m all for that, but even the links at LightSquared’s website points to an article that mentions the real issue in two different paragraphs.

LightSquared’s network has been shown to have a widespread impact on GPS receivers, and the FCC has said it will not allow the service to go live until the interference issue is addressed. …

LightSquared attempted to address the GPS interference issue by moving its network to a different band, but recent tests show its network still knocks out a large swath of receivers.

LightSquared is suggesting a portion of the commercial GPS market is to blame, not keeping current with filter technology that would protect their devices from interference from LightSquared’s signal. Supposedly, they say current smart phones are no longer effected, but more expensive, commercial GPS systems used in aviation and the inexpensive units in your car are effected. Sticking with the expensive aviation systems – 75 percent of which were effected during testing – it’s not all that easy to find the money, time and other resources to upgrade those systems.

But that has not stopped LightSquared from outright demanding they be allowed to proceed with opening their network immediately. Maybe the commercial GPS market does need to get their systems upgraded with new filters, but what it comes down to is the FCC approved every radio device and the frequency spectrum utilized … you can’t turn those ships on a dime.

Ed Morrissey monitored the (failed) testing of the system as well as the FCC’s unusual accommodations made to LightSquared during the testing process. His post today reviews the aftermath, and includes links to previous Hot Air stories listed below.

5 replies
  1. Lynn
    Lynn says:

    I was trying to keep track of this story. LightSquared should be shut down according to my friends. Wow what a concept a Federal Agency actually doing their job

  2. Plainvillian
    Plainvillian says:

    My airplane has two GPS receivers.  GPS is temperamental enough without near frequency or harmonic frequency interference from any source.  GPS receivers with aviation certification are very expensive without the proposed filters and the certification process for said filters would take years, unless of course the administration trumps both FCC and FAA certifications in favor of a big contributor’s well being.  But on the bright side, the American Trial Lawyers Association will all smile when the first post crash tort cases are filed since they support Obama too.  It’s a win-win-win.

  3. JBS
    JBS says:

    We have the Regime actively working to torpedo the economy and now there is the Regime actively working to torpedo GPS and everything associated with it. That’s the economy, did I mention that?, travel, private and commercial, transportation, surveying, the military . . . whoa! Øbama hates the military.
    Could there be a link?
    Agenda 21 rears its UGLY head again.

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