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Guidelines Clarified for LightSquared and GPS Working Group

Last week the FCC responded to a petition from U.S. GPS Industry Council seeking clarification of LightSquared Authorization Order, specifically in regard to whether the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) applies to the GPS interference working group that LightSquared was required to establish as a condition to its grant allowing expanded terrestrial facilities on frequencies near those used for GPS.

The FCC said that "while the Order encourages the GPS community and federal interests to participate in the working group, it does not require LightSquared to obtain the participation of any particular organization or individual."

It added that the FCC had not chosen working group members, "nor does it intend to do so," noting that a broad cross-section of technical experts was desirable, and that LightSquared was responsible for selecting "appropriate participants."

The letter also stated that "Commission staff will not attend the working group meetings as a general matter, and will not control or supervise the working group."

Regarding the final report, the FCC letter says, "The Order does not ask or require LightSquared to develop a consensus recommendation among the working group participants. Rather, LightSquared should submit in its final report the various interference analyses and recommendations offered by working group participants, as well as LightSquared's individual and independent interference analysis and plan for avoiding harmful interference."

It added that LightSquared could not begin commercial service on its L-band frequencies until the Commission—in concert with the NTIA—decided that interference concerns were resolved.

LightSquared issued a Press Release Wednesday noting it and the U.S. GPS Industry Council filed their first joint report to the FCC on Friday, Feb. 25. While the press release did not include a copy of the joint report, it said "It outlines the key milestones for the overall analyses that they plan to conduct together."

The next report will be filed in March.

Doug Lung is one of America's foremost authorities on broadcast RF technology. He has been with NBC since 1985 and is currently vice president of broadcast technology for NBC/Telemundo stations.