FCC To Hear LightSquared Petition

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Washington - The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) agreed to consider LightSquared's request that it declare GPS devices are not entitled to interference protection from the LightSquared's planned 4G network as long as the network operates within FCC-established technical requirements.

The FCC asked for comments by Feb. 27 and for responses to those comments by March 13.

LightSquared, which wants to establish a terrestrial 4G LTE network in a satellite-radio band, contended that GPS makers sell "unlicensed and poorly designed" receivers that listen in on its spectrum.

For its part, the GPS industry has asked the FCC to declare that "the GPS community is not required to share responsibility for resolving interference issues" with LightSquared, the FCC noted. The industry's petition contends that LightSquared "is required to protect GPS receivers from interference caused by such terrestrial operations and that the Commission has placed the obligation to resolve harmful interference on [LightSquared]," the FCC said.

To further complicate the matter, a law passed in late 2011 prevents the FCC from green-lighting LightSquared's network until it "has resolved concerns of potential widespread harmful interference by such commercial terrestrial operations to commercially available global positioning system devices," the FCC noted.

A year ago, the FCC approved LightSquared's planned network on the condition that the company "would work with the GPS community to resolve concerns raised about potential interference to GPS receivers and devices," the FCC said.

Results from an initial batch of FCC-ordered tests on consumer-oriented GPS devices have been submitted to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration for analysis, and another round of tests is in the works for GPS devices used in high-precision applications used in the aviation, agriculture, construction, engineering, surveying and other industries.

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