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FCC seeks comment on LightSquared request

The FCC is seeking comment on a request by Mobile-Satellite Service (MSS) licensee LightSquared for a declaratory ruling from the agency establishing that commercial Global Positioning System receivers aren’t entitled to interference protection from the ancillary terrestrial component (ATC) as long as it operates within the technical parameters laid out by the agency.

The FCC International Bureau has set a deadline of Feb. 27 for comments and March 13 for reply comments in the proceeding.

In January 2011, the bureau granted LightSquared a conditional waiver of its ATC integrated service rule and set up conditions the company was required to meet before it could commence operation of the terrestrial component of its integrated satellite and terrestrial 4G wireless service.

The waiver called for a process to resolve interference issues in which the company would work with the GPS community to resolve concerns over potential interference. The bureau conditioned completion of the process upon the commission, in consultation with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, concluding that the harmful interference issues were resolved. To date, this process remains incomplete.

As part of the process, LightSquared submitted a final report from a technical working group it co-chaired with the U.S. GPS Industry Council (USGIC), and the commission issued a public notice requesting comment on the report. Reply comments from LightSquared laid out the interference protection to which GPS receivers are entitled.

In a separate docket, the USGIC filed a petition for reconsideration asking the commission to state that the GPS community is not required to share responsibility for resolving interference issues with MSS ATC providers, such as LightSquared. It argues that that responsibility belongs to the MSS ATC providers.

On Dec. 23, 2011, Congress enacted the 2012 General Government Appropriations Act, which includes a provision that prohibits the commission from using funds made available by the act “to remove the conditions imposed on commercial terrestrial operations … or otherwise permit such operations, until the Commission has resolved concerns of potential widespread harmful interference by such commercial terrestrial operations to commercially available Global Positioning System devices.”

The International Bureau is seeking comment from the public on LightSquared’s petition for declaratory ruling.