WISPA suggests the FCC give experimental license to Globalstar

The Wireless Internet Service Providers Association (WISPA) says it has tried to keep an open mind about Globalstar's proposal to use its satellite spectrum for terrestrial low power service (TLPS), but the draft order that's in circulation doesn't appear to adequately address its primary concerns.

WISPA, which represents more than 800 members, many of which provide Internet service in rural areas, is concerned about potential interference. 

In a June 7 meeting with Commissioner Michael O'Rielly's legal advisor, Erin McGrath, WISPA's Stephen Coran suggested the draft order could be improved to address WISPA's concerns. O'Rielly is one of two commissioners that had not voted on the draft order as of late last week, with Democratic Commissioner Magnon Clyburn being the other. Commissioners Jessica Rosenworcel and Ajit Pai have voted against the draft order that Chairman Tom Wheeler put into circulation.

Coran suggests that rather than approving conditional authority for TLPS, the commission could instead grant Globalstar an experimental license. During the experimental license term, Globalstar could be required to conduct cooperative lab and field testing against outdoor devices to determine whether and to what extent there may be harmful interference to Channel 11 and report those findings in the FCC's docket. CableLabs was suggested as an appropriate location for lab testing, so long as outdoor devices are included in the test parameters.

Alternatively, if the draft order is approved, the commission should be required to vote on whether to grant Globalstar full TLPS authority at the end of the one-year conditional term, Coran said. This second commission-level vote would be made on the basis of adequate testing. "In short, whether through an experimental license or the second-vote condition, both the Commission and the public would have more information on which to evaluate interference concerns," he said.

Globalstar says demonstrations confirm that TLPS is a good neighbor to Wi-Fi operations in the IEEE 802.11 Channel 11 and other channels, and with Bluetooth in the unlicensed ISM band at 2400-2483.5 MHz. Others, however, like the Wi-Fi Alliance, say its demonstrations have not gone far enough and the record "overwhelmingly demonstrates" that authorizing TLPS would endanger present and future shared, unlicensed use of the 2.4 GHz band. It has urged Chairman Wheeler to withdraw the draft from consideration

Globalstar has struggled in the satellite business but says it's mobile satellite service (MSS) business is growing and will grow further with this year's deployment of its second-generation ground network. This year, it will introduce a 2-way SPOT texting device. The company reported a net loss of $26.9 million for the first quarter of 2016 compared to a net loss of $129.7 million for the first quarter of 2015.

For more:
- see this filing

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