FCC To Suspend LightSquared Plans


The FCC will indefinitely suspend LightSquared’s authority to carry terrestrial broadband signals on frequencies close to GPS frequencies after receiving a report that concludes the two systems cannot currently coexist. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) wrote (PDF) the FCC on Tuesday saying there was no immediate solution to interference problems found in testing GPS units in the presence of the types of signals that LightSquared is proposing. The FCC conditionally allowed LightSquared to use frequency bands it owned adjacent to the GPS bands provided it could prove the broadband wouldn’t step on GPS. A year of testing demonstrated serious and widespread interference according to NTIA. LightSquared says it “profoundly disagrees” with those findings and was fighting to have the FCC rule in its favor right up until the decision was announced. The battle isn’t officially over yet.

According to PC World, the FCC was planning to issue a public notice of its intentions on Wednesday and will seek public comment on its plan and the NTIA’s conclusions. The NTIA did leave a crack in the door by saying it would like to work with the FCC and industry to tackle the interference problems so that spectrum can be freed up to be used for broadband. LightSquared hasn’t said what it intends to do with the decision which will effectively cancel its plans for a $14 billion high speed wireless system.