Technology

FCC Blocks LightSquared Over Concerns It Interferes With Navigation Gear

Although LightSquared received a preliminary approval last year from the U.S. regulators, authorities dramatically changed their point of view after they received proof of signal interference. Thus, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission decided to block LightSquared over concerns it interferes with signal from navigation gear.

Bloomberg writes that according to an emailed statement from the U.S. Federal Communications Commission’s spokeswoman, Tammy Sun, federal agencies determined that LightSquared’s signals interfere with global positioning system devices. Tammy Sun’s statement read: “The commission clearly stated from the outset that harmful interference to GPS would not be permitted. The commission will not lift the prohibition on LightSquared”.

Obviously, the decision the U.S. Federal Communications Commission took is a major setback for LightSquared and its biggest investor, hedge fund billionaire Philip Falcone. Through Harbinger Capital Partners, Falcone invested $3 billion in LightSquared and important efforts to get the system approved.

Since LightSquared first received the preliminary approval, Falcone has been involved in the year long lobby between the companies in the GPS markets. As a result, the government has disposed a series of tests that found several issues with LightSquared’s solutions. The company tried to protect itself saying that the tests were flawed.

Lawrence Strickling, administrator of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), wrote a letter to the U.S. Federal Communications Commission saying that the tests and analysis LightSquared has been subjected to show that company’s system would interfere with navigation equipment, including gear used in aircrafts.

Strickling’s letter reads: “There are no mitigation strategies that both solve the interference issues and provide LightSquared  with an adequate commercial network deployment”.

Yesterday, before the U.S. Federal Communications Commission had released its statement, LightSquared issued a press release saying that the company is “committed to finding a resolution with the federal government and the GPS industry”. The statement also read that LightSquared “fully expects” the U.S. Federal Communications Commission “to recognize LightSquared’s legal rights to build its $14 billion, privately financed network”.

In addition, LightSquared said that the company disagrees with what Strickling found. The company said that the NTIA board disregarded “more than a decade of regulatory orders, and in doing so, jeopardize private enterprise, jobs and investment”.

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