LightSquared Comments Due March 1

WASHINGTON: Comments are due to the Federal Communications Commission March 1 on the Commerce Department’s recommendation that LightSquared not be allowed to launch a terrestrial network. The commission is proposing to vacate the waiver that would have let it to do so, and to suspend LightSquared’s ability to use terrestrial transmissions to supplement satellite operations.

The action comes days after a Commerce Department official told FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski that tests indicated there was “no practical way” to mitigate interference to global positioning systems caused by LightSquared’s proposed wireless broadband network. The commission granted the waiver to LightSquared about a year ago on the condition that its operations did not interfere with GPS receivers. The company has been struggling for a year to resolve the interference problem. It said this week it would continue to do so. (See “LightSquared Vows To Continue Despite Terrestrial Network Nix.”)

LightSquared’s spectrum licenses comprise 20 MHz in the L-band, which is designated primarily to mobile satellite service operations. The designation includes an “Ancillary Terrestrial Component” for using land-based transmitters to fill in gaps where satellite transmissions don’t reach. The commission is proposing to suspend LightSquared’s ATC authority “indefinitely.”
~ Deborah D. McAdams