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LightSquared Hits Another Roadblock,May Disrupt Weather Tracking

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LightSquared Hits Another Roadblock,May Disrupt Weather Tracking


LightSquared Hits Another Roadblock,May Disrupt Weather Tracking



The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration,or NOAA,Transportation Department and a federal advisory board will ask the House Committee on Science,Space and Technology to recommend LightSquared’s satellite wireless system undergo more tests before the government approves it.

The federal agencies say LightSquared’s signals may disrupt gear that reads data from weather-forecasting GPS systems. The NOAA is concerned LightSquared could hinder a satellite system that increases hurricane tracking accuracy.

The NOAA would have difficulty blocking LightSquared interference,said the agency’s deputy undersecretary Mary Glackin,because its GPS satellites are in orbit and can’t be modified since they are in space.

LightSquared is expected to insist to Congress that its service can co-exist with current GPS systems and can prove its system’s safety.

Today’s testimony may affect Federal Communications Commission’s approval process of LightSquared’s service. Last month,the FCC said it would ban the satellite provider from operating in the U.S. if LightSquared’s signals prove to interfere with aviation GPS systems.

“We’re not going to do anything that creates problems for GPS safety and service as we explore technical solutions that will both protect GPS and allow a new service to launch,”FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said.

Meanwhile,the Congressional hearings —plus the federal concerns —may put a hold on LightSquared’s massive expansion plans. LightSquared intends to invest $14 billion over the next eight years to build a national high-speed wireless network with approximately 40,000 antennas. The company plans to sell wholesale wireless services to companies that would then resell the service under their own brand names.

LightSquared would use airwaves previously reserved mainly for satellites,but federal agencies say GPS systems also use those airwaves for planes,boats and more.

LightSquared has proposed using only part of the airwave spectrum that GPS systems don’t use,which may alleviate interference concerns for more than 99 percent of all GPS receivers,according to the company.

If its signals do interfere with GPS systems,a probable ban by the FCC of LightSquared’s service may hurt Sprint as well.

In July,the company agreed to pay Sprint $9 billion in cash for hosting the wireless company’s spectrum and network services. Sprint would also get $4.5 billion in credits to help pay for acquiring half of LightSquared’s LTE capability.

But without FCC approval,that LTE service might not be available to Sprint,scuttling the deal. LightSquared owner Philip Falcone,who blames rivals AT&T,Verizon and the FCC for stalling the Sprint deal,says the FCC is at fault over the GPS issue,not LightSquared.

“They didn’t put the proper filtering on their devices. They are leaking into our highway. We’re not interfering with them. They’re interfering with us,”he said.



LightSquared Hits Another Roadblock,May Disrupt Weather Tracking



The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration,or NOAA,Transportation Department and a federal advisory board will ask the House Committee on Science,Space and Technology to recommend LightSquared’s satellite wireless system undergo more tests before the government approves it.

The federal agencies say LightSquared’s signals may disrupt gear that reads data from weather-forecasting GPS systems. The NOAA is concerned LightSquared could hinder a satellite system that increases hurricane tracking accuracy.

The NOAA would have difficulty blocking LightSquared interference,said the agency’s deputy undersecretary Mary Glackin,because its GPS satellites are in orbit and can’t be modified since they are in space.

LightSquared is expected to insist to Congress that its service can co-exist with current GPS systems and can prove its system’s safety.

Today’s testimony may affect Federal Communications Commission’s approval process of LightSquared’s service. Last month,the FCC said it would ban the satellite provider from operating in the U.S. if LightSquared’s signals prove to interfere with aviation GPS systems.

“We’re not going to do anything that creates problems for GPS safety and service as we explore technical solutions that will both protect GPS and allow a new service to launch,”FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said.

Meanwhile,the Congressional hearings —plus the federal concerns —may put a hold on LightSquared’s massive expansion plans. LightSquared intends to invest $14 billion over the next eight years to build a national high-speed wireless network with approximately 40,000 antennas. The company plans to sell wholesale wireless services to companies that would then resell the service under their own brand names.

LightSquared would use airwaves previously reserved mainly for satellites,but federal agencies say GPS systems also use those airwaves for planes,boats and more.

LightSquared has proposed using only part of the airwave spectrum that GPS systems don’t use,which may alleviate interference concerns for more than 99 percent of all GPS receivers,according to the company.

If its signals do interfere with GPS systems,a probable ban by the FCC of LightSquared’s service may hurt Sprint as well.

In July,the company agreed to pay Sprint $9 billion in cash for hosting the wireless company’s spectrum and network services. Sprint would also get $4.5 billion in credits to help pay for acquiring half of LightSquared’s LTE capability.

But without FCC approval,that LTE service might not be available to Sprint,scuttling the deal. LightSquared owner Philip Falcone,who blames rivals AT&T,Verizon and the FCC for stalling the Sprint deal,says the FCC is at fault over the GPS issue,not LightSquared.

“They didn’t put the proper filtering on their devices. They are leaking into our highway. We’re not interfering with them. They’re interfering with us,”he said.