Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo demand safeguards in Globalstar TLPS deployment

Representatives with Microsoft, Sony Electronics, Nintendo of America and the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) recently met with two FCC commissioners' legal advisors to discuss Globalstar's proposed terrestrial low power service (TLPS) – a service they say has the potential to degrade service to millions of video game consumers.

Every mainstream video game console uses the 2.4 GHz band extensively, and they don't want the commission to grant Globalstar authority to operate nationwide without meaningful testing, something that various groups have been requesting for months. Microsoft itself recently was granted approval to test terrestrial use of the 2483.5-2500 MHz Mobile Satellite Service (MSS) band currently assigned for use by Globalstar.

Shares of Globalstar surged in mid-May amid reports that its TLPS moved a step closer to happening, with the FCC circulating an order in the proceeding. Under that plan, the company may establish a total of 825 access points for Wi-Fi devices in the first year, and the FCC would assess whether they cause interference to other services, an unidentified FCC official told Bloomberg at the time.

Globalstar has been asking the FCC to use its satellite spectrum for terrestrial services and says that by permitting Globalstar to provide its proposed TLPS, the commission would add 22 megahertz to the nation's broadband spectrum inventory. In recent meetings with the FCC, Globalstar's representatives also expressed support for a staged deployment of TLPS. "Such a balanced and pragmatic approach would permit Globalstar to expand its TLPS operations gradually across the United States, while providing extra safeguards to existing licensed and unlicensed services," Globalstar said in its FCC filing.

The ESA says it understands that given the potential risk to Bluetooth and Wi-Fi consumers from the proposed Globalstar operations, the commission is considering an order requiring it to receive additional data by assessing limited Globalstar deployments over a one-year period. "While we agreed with the recognition of the risk posed by Globalstar, we explained that the approach the Commission is considering is problematic and risks permitting significant consumer damage to occur," ESA said. Consequently, "this order should not grant Globalstar permanent authority to operate TLPS."

ESA also notes that if the commission were to move forward with the draft order on circulation, it is critically important that it adopt at least minimal safeguards to protect consumers, including meaningful access to deployment locations and reasonable advance notice of when testing will occur; access to the equipment Globalstar intends to use; and establishment of objective metrics for assessing the potential impact of Globalstar's transmissions on licensed operations, including reductions in throughput and increased latency and jitter.

For more:
- see this ESA filing
- see this Globalstar filing

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