LightSquared received a severe blow on Tuesday when the Nation Telecommunications and Information Administration ruled that LightSquared will inevitably interfere with other devices. As a result, the FFC is proposing to lift the conditional permission for LightSquared to operate and indefinitely suspending its authority to operate all celphone towers.
LightSquared is a company that developed a wholesale 4G LTE wireless broadband communications network that is integrated with satellite coverage. The company’s plan was to build a nationwide high-speed cell phone network based on satellites and ground transmitters. This plan could be a way to enhance competition and speed up deployment of mobile broadband in the U.S. However, using these high-powered ground transmitters in a spectrum intended for low powered signals from satellites is causing interference with existing networks such as GPS.
Since 2002, LightSquared has been working with the NTIA and the GPS industry to avoid interference between the LightSquared and GPS networks. Last year, LightSquared was granted a conditional waiver to move forward under the stipulation that the company demonstrated that it could first solve the interference problem.
On Tuesday, as reported by The Hill, the president’s top adviser on telecom issues said there is “no practical way” to prevent the network from disrupting GPS devices. Even if LightSquared could fix the problem, “The time and money required for federal, commercial, and private sector users to replace technology in the field and the marketplace… cannot support the scheduled deployment of terrestrial services proposed by LightSuared.”
LightSquared maintains that that NTIA findings were based on flawed studies, and it will continue working to find a resolution with the government and the GPS industry.