WISPA gives nod to Globalstar’s new plan

cell towers
WISPA supports the satellite company's revised plan.

The Wireless Internet Service Providers Association (WISPA), which has been critical of Globalstar’s plan for terrestrial low power service (TLPS) in the past, is now on board with the latest plan presented by Globalstar.

Earlier this month, Globalstar announced it was backing off a proposal to launch a wireless network that critics said would have interfered with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi devices. Instead, the company told the FCC that it wants to “narrow the relief” it originally sought and Globalstar is urging the commission to adopt rules that will expedite the outcome of a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM).

WISPA, which has more than 800 members, including wireless internet service providers, has said on more than one occasion that it tried to keep an open mind about Globalstar’s proposal to use its 11.5 megahertz of licensed mobile satellite service (MSS) spectrum in the 2483.5-2495 MHz band for TLPS. But WISPA raised concerns that Globalstar didn’t address questions about potential interference for fixed wireless service providers that rely on Channel 11 to provide service to their customers.

That’s all changed with Globalstar’s revised plan. “By narrowing its earlier proposal to confine TLPS to Globalstar’s licensed spectrum at 2483.5-2495 MHz, WISPA’s interference concerns have been addressed,” wrote WISPA’s counsel, Stephen Coran, in a Nov. 21 filing with the FCC. “WISPA believes that the revised proposal will adequately protect unlicensed operations in the 2473-2483.5 MHz ISM band. Accordingly, WISPA does not object to commission approval of the revised proposal.”

RELATED: Sprint supports Globalstar’s revised proposal in 2.4 GHz band

Sprint and the Wireless Communications Association (WCA) also are urging the FCC to adopt Globalstar’s revised proposal, saying they’re on board as long as the out-of-band emission (OOBE) limit is revised as part of the plan. Sprint and WCA previously voiced concerns about Globalstar’s TLPS impact on spectrum immediately adjacent to Broadband Radio Service (BRS) and Educational Broadband Service (EBS) operations. But with a revised OOBE limit at the upper edge of Globalstar’s licensed spectrum at 2495 MHz, they’re OK with it.

RELATED: Globalstar shelves controversial proposal for unlicensed spectrum, asks FCC to OK revised plan

Noting that its original plan to use TLPS had generated a number of technical and policy objections, Globalstar submitted a revised proposal Nov. 9 in an attempt to expedite the outcome of the rulemaking. Besides interference concerns, some critics had argued the original proposal amounted to giving Globalstar preferential access to unlicensed spectrum in the 2.4 GHz band. Republican Commissioner Ajit Pai, for one, voted against a draft plan that FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler had circulated among commissioners earlier this year.

Other opponents to Globalstar’s original plan included the Bluetooth SIG, the Wi-Fi Alliance, Microsoft, the Hearing Industries Association, Gerst Capital, Nintendo of America and the Entertainment Software Association. Some pointed out that TLPS would interfere with hearing aids, while the game industry warned that TLPS could degrade service to millions of video game consumers. Even Google weighed in, saying that if the FCC were to allow Globalstar to test deployment of a proprietary Wi-Fi-type service in unlicensed 2.4 GHz spectrum on a preferential basis, the FCC should commit to initiating a future proceeding to open Channel 14 for public use if TLPS use were shown to be viable in practice.