FCC officials, in a briefing with reporters earlier this week, made it clear that they can't guarantee the completion of a review of LightSquared's proposed plans and its proposed remedies to the GPS interference problem by by September.
LightSquared executives have previously said they expect the FCC to grant the company approval by mid-September, but in light of the intense controversy surrounding its operations' potential to interfere with GPS signals, the FCC is not giving any timetable for the completion of an analysis. The officials also stressed that they have never told LightSquared the review would be finished by then.
A technical report released last month revealed LightSquared's planned operations in the satellite L-band would interfere with GPS signals. Subsequently, LightSquared, which is planning a nationwide wholesale LTE network using a primarily terrestrial network, agreed to operate only in the lower portions of its band until a fix could be found, but the GPS community is still up in arms, claiming those plans are an inadequate fix.
FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski told reporters that he wants to see LightSquared co-exist with the GPS community.
"We're not going to do anything that creates problems for GPS safety and service as we explore technical solutions that will both protect GPS and allow a new service to launch that will lead to billions of dollars of private investment, real job creation and competition," Genachowski said. He added that the review would be "fact-based" and "engineering-based."
FCC officials said that while the upper portion of LightSquared's spectrum clearly causes problems for GPS devices, more analysis is needed on the lower portion of LightSquared's spectrum. Interestingly, FCC officials declined to say whether LightSquared's network interferes with military GPS signals.
In the meantime, LightSquared executives appear to be functioning with optimism that the FCC will approve its plans. It recently signed a 15-year, $9 billion network hosting deal with Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S), a backhaul deal with CENX, a roaming deal with regional flat-rate player ClearTalk Wireless and a wholesale customer deal with PowerNet Global.
- see this article from The Hill
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