This past month the folks at LightSuared have had less than an awesome time dealing with the idea that their network had been accused of interfering with GPS receivers of all kinds, and this week after already having sent word out to the world that the whole thing was just a simple misunderstanding, they’ve petitioned the FCC directly to have them affirm their spectrum rights. LightSquared is currently looking into building a new national LTE network using frequencies that sit next to those generally devoted to GPS, and as their petition for declaratory ruling notes this week, they’re living in peace, not bashing each other around. On the other hand, specifically what they’re asking is that the FCC affirm that their rights to use the spectrum outweighs the fact that because GPS receivers are not licensed and do not operate inside service rules, they are not entitled to interference protection.
LightSquared here is noting that they’ve done no wrong because the problem is caused, first of all, by GPS receivers looking into its fully licensed spectrum. What they’re saying with this then is that even if the interference exists, these GPS representatives have no rights that would stop LightSquared from continuing on with business as usual. In fact, if what LightSquared executive vice president for regulatory affairs and public policy Jeff Carlisle says is true, the GPS industry agreed to their plans years ago:
“LightSquared has had FCC authorization to build its network for over eight years and that authorization was endorsed by the GPS industry.” – Carlisle
What LightSquared’s CEO Sanjiv Ahuja says is especially pointed in this regard as well:
“This petition goes to the very heart of the FCC’s mission, which is to ensure that the nation’s airwaves are governed by regulatory certainty.” – Ahuja
You can read the petition for declaratory ruling in a PDF file hosted by LightSquared and note the massive nature of the soft threat. When you tell a group like LightSquared that they can’t go through with a plan they’ve had on the books for 6+ years because some punk GPS jockeys have an issue with you, it’s time for business.