LightSquared, the planned satellite-based LTE network meant for wholesale access has filed its expected report to the FCC on the results of its interference testing after missing its initial deadline at the beginning of the month. The results of the report are unsurprising to those with experience with satellite-based communications, but LightSquaredâ€™s position on the reasons for its issues will do very little to convince regulators or consumers that the operations waiver it received earlier this year was the right decision.
In its report, LightSquared essentially blames the GPS industry for everything from failing to build proper filters into its devices in order to avoid interference for the past eight years, blocking it from operating the network by filing FCC complaints during construction and initial testing as well accusing the industry of relying on government subsidies by stating that the industry receives the equivalent of an $18 billion subsidy by relying on the Department of Defenseâ€™s GPS network instead of using its own infrastructure.
"The interference is caused by the GPS device manufacturerâ€™s decision over the last eight years to design products that depend on using spectrum assigned to other FCC licensees. GPS device manufacturers have been largely uninterested in finding a win-win solution. Rather, their only answer to a problem of their own making is to demand that the government simply block LightSquared from using the company’s own spectrum to roll out the first wholesale-only wireless broadband network for the entire nation. This is a problem that the GPS industry could have avoided by equipping their devices over the last several years with filters that cost as little as five cents each.â€
LightSquared has now decided to rely on its backup plan of cutting power output to its cellsites and operating on a lower part of the L-Band that it was assigned that was originally set aside for further expansion, but is still asking for the cooperation of the GPS industry for help in resolving the interference issues while sidestepping how it plans to resolve more issues raised by the FAA and Department of Defense.
LightSquared recently signed a 15 year deal with Sprint that would provide it with the assistance it needs to rollout its wholesale LTE service.