FCC to dash LightSquared's bid for LTE glory

Many of us have seen this coming for some time now, but the FCC issued a statement late today that it intends to reject LightSquared's bid to create a wholesale LTE network on the basis that interference with existing GPS devices is unavoidable. The news follows a similar recommendation from the NTIA that was delivered to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski today, which concluded "there are no mitigation strategies that both solve the interference issues and provide LightSquared with an adequate commercial network deployment." For its part, the upstart wireless provider responded that it "profoundly disagrees" with the NTIA's conclusions and remains committed to finding a solution -- easier said than done. You'll find that statement in its entirety after the break.

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LightSquared Remains Committed to Finding Resolution

RESTON, Va., February 14, 2012 – In response to the NTIA's recommendation to the FCC today regarding LightSquared's network, the company said it remains committed to finding a resolution with the federal government and the GPS industry to resolve all remaining concerns. LightSquared is confident that the parties will continue the on-going efforts to explore all engineering options and alternatives to find a solution to this difficult issue.

The NTIA's recommendation relied on the flawed conclusions of the PNT ExCOM about LightSquared's potential impact on GPS.

LightSquared profoundly disagrees with both the NTIA's and the PNT's recommendations, which disregard more than a decade of regulatory orders, and in doing so, jeopardize private enterprise, jobs and investment in America's future. NTIA relies on interference standards that have never been used in this context, and were forced by the GPS community in order to reach the conclusions presented today. This, together with a severely flawed testing process that relied on obsolete and niche devices, shows that the FCC should take the NTIA's recommendation with a generous helping of salt. Despite LightSquared's success in finding technical solutions and the acknowledgement by a senior government official that GPS receivers are specifically designed to rely on spectrum licensed to LightSquared, it is extremely disappointing that this recommendation was made today.

LightSquared recognizes, however, that this is just one step in the process, and it remains committed to working toward a resolution. The final regulatory decision rests now with the FCC, which is the proper authority to resolve this issue. The company fully expects the agency to recognize LightSquared's legal rights to build its $14 billion, privately financed network. There is no question that an America where both the GPS industry and LightSquared's network can co-exist is a stronger one for any administration that believes in competitive markets and job growth.