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LightSquared exec faces House committee grilling

updated 04:40 pm EDT, Fri September 9, 2011

LightSquared exec calls FCC issue a technical one

LightSquared executive Jeffrey Carlisle had to defend his company's new proposal to the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, downplaying their concerns about possible GPS wireless device interference. LightSquared is attempting to pay $9 billion to Sprint to build a national wireless spectrum that could then be sold off to cable and other clients who want to add a wireless service to their offerings. The FCC also got knocked by a witness for granting LightSquared a waiver to operate a primarily terrestrial network using what was meant to be primarily satellite spectrum operating on low-power levels without knowing all the facts on the potential impact.

LightSquared plans to eventually move to the higher spectrum once the FCC approved it. But there are problems with using the lower bands as well, said administration witnesses and Dr. Scott Pace, Director of the Space Policy Institute at George Washington University. Carlisle responded by saying a 2002 agreement didn't identify the proposed receivers as infringing upon the GPS spectrum but that the GPS receiver problem was raised by the industry just last year. Pace, in turn, said the issue didn't come up as LightSquared asked to operate the more powerful ground transmitters using the spectrum in 2010. Anthony Russo of The National Coordination Office for Space-Based Positioning, Navigation, and Timing added that these signals would be five billion times more powerful than the satellite GPS signals.

Pace also partially blamed the FCC for these problems. He believed the FCC granted the waiver without enough technical data and then changed the allocation from satellite to terrestrial, leading to the current issues.

Carlisle hinted this oversight cost his company a hundred million dollars in proposal modifications and invested billions based on the FCC's waivers and authorizations.

Carlisle concluded that the issue involves responsible receiver design, calling it a technical issue that can be solved and comparing it to ones faced when anyone sets up a wireless network. [via BroadcastingCable]

by MacNN Staff



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