LightSquared asks FCC to confirm its rights as spectrum licensee

LightSquared has asked the FCC to confirm its right to use the spectrum licensed to the company by the federal government and to confirm that commercial GPS manufacturers have no right to interference protection from LightSquared’s network since they are not licensed users of that spectrum.

“The one inescapable conclusion from two rounds of independent testing is that the incompatibility problem is not caused by LightSquared’s network,” said Jeff Carlisle, LightSquared’s executive vice president for regulatory affairs and public policy. “It is clear that GPS devices are purposefully designed to look into LightSquared’s licensed spectrum, and given this evidence, we believe decision-makers should consider LightSquared’s legal rights as the licensee.”

The company claims that commercial GPS manufacturers are responsible for having designed and sold unlicensed devices that use spectrum licensed to LightSquared and its predecessor companies.

“Commercial GPS receivers are not licensed, do not operate under any service rules, and thus are not entitled to any interference protection whatsoever,’’ LightSquared wrote in its petition to the commission.

The petition also notes that the FCC itself has stated that the GPS industry has been on notice for almost a decade that LightSquared was planning to use its spectrum to launch a nationwide broadband network.

“LightSquared has had FCC authorization to build its network for over eight years, and that authorization was endorsed by the GPS industry, and fully reviewed and allowed to proceed by several other government agencies,” Carlisle said. “Commercial GPS device-makers have had nearly a decade to design and sell devices that do not infringe on LightSquared’s licensed spectrum. They have no right to complain in the eleventh-hour about incompatibility when they had ample opportunity to avoid this problem.”

In addition to more than 300 million GPS-enabled cell phones that government testing has confirmed are compatible with LightSquared’s spectrum, several GPS device manufacturers, including Javad GNSS and Hemisphere, have also successfully developed and tested devices that are also compatible. The development of these LightSquared-compatible GPS devices proves that GPS manufacturers could have designed their equipment to filter out LightSquared’s signals and avoid interference, LightSquared said.

“While we ask the FCC to confirm our legal rights, LightSquared remains fully committed to cooperate with all parties — the GPS industry, GPS users and the federal government — to ensure that LightSquared’s network is deployed in a way that is compatible with GPS users,” Carlisle said. “LightSquared has always recognized the critical importance of the GPS system, and we firmly believe that GPS devices can peacefully co-exist adjacent to our network.”

LightSquared plans to deploy an open 4G network to be used by existing and new service providers to sell their own devices, applications and services. The deployment and operation of the company’s network represent more than $14 billion of private investment over the next eight years.