NEWS ANALYSIS: The FCC, responding to a letter from the NTIA saying that LightSquared's proposed broadband service interferes with GPS, will not allow the company's plans to build its own network to move forward.
Federal Communications Commission has effectively killed LightSquareds plan to
build its own terrestrial wholesale 4G data delivery system. The FCCs
action followed a letter from the National Telecommunication and Information
that found LightSquareds original and modified plans
for its proposed mobile network would cause harmful interference to the
nations GPS receivers.
Feb. 14 NTIA letter also noted that the Federal Aviation Administration had
concluded that the LightSqared proposed data network would interfere with
aviation safety-of-flight systems, and that no practical solutions or mitigations
would be found over the course of the next few years.
mounting evidence that the companys plan was unworkable, the FCC announced that
LightSquareds time was up.
Commission will not lift the prohibition on LightSquared, said FCC spokeswoman
Tammy Sun. The International Bureau of the Commission is proposing to (1)
vacate the Conditional Waiver Order, and (2) suspend indefinitely
LightSquareds Ancillary Terrestrial Component authority to an extent
consistent with the NTIA letter. A Public Notice seeking comment on NTIAs
conclusions and on these proposals will be released tomorrow [Feb. 15].
the FCC proposal to end LightSquareds operation is in the form of a proposal,
the reality is that this effectively kills the LightSquared application for its
4G LTE (Long-Term Evolution) data system.
as one may suspect, disagrees with the FCCs actions
. According to
LightSquared spokesman Chris Stern, the company plans to fight on and prove
that its proposed system and GPS can co-exist.
its hard to see how LightSquareds protestations are anything but empty
promises from a company about to fail.
current failure of LightSquared to gain regulatory approval for its operations
has cost its primary owner, Harbinger Capital Partners,
more than half its value, and has forced the company to borrow operating funds
at interest ratesmore than 15 percentcloser to those charged by payday
lenders than even junk bonds. A number of financial observers have suggested
that LightSquared only has a few months left before it runs out of cash. This
means that the FCCs actions will almost certainly kill LightSquared long
before it has a chance to find a reasonable solution to GPS interference,
assuming one exists.