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Various Articles about LightSquared Print E-mail
Written by Various authors   
Friday, 21 October 2011
Coalition to Save Our GPS Clips

October 21, 2011

An op-ed in The Hill by Jim Kirkland, vice president and general counsel of Trimble, a founding member of the Coalition to Save Our GPS, discredits the claim that LightSquared and Javad GNSS have developed a “solution” to GPS interference by LightSquared’s network.  “LightSquared has been wrong every step of the way in saying GPS would be safe from interference,” Kirkland wrote. “Claims by it and vendors like Dr. Ashjaee are only marginally relevant to a true ’solution’ to the GPS interference problem.  It’s time for LightSquared to stop issuing unsubstantiated ‘solution’ press releases and accept full technical and financial responsibility to protect critical GPS uses.”

Communications Daily, TR Daily, Bloomberg, Broadcasting & Cable and The Hill report that LightSquared declined yesterday to provide Senate Judiciary Ranking Member Chuck Grassley with requested copies of communications between Harbinger Capital Partners, LightSquared, and the FCC. 

·         "Given the transparent efforts of the GPS industry to politicize this issue, I admittedly have concerns that any materials we provide may be used selectively or taken out of context," an attorney for LightSquared said.

·         "We believe that obtaining documents and information only from Harbinger and LightSquared would result in an incomplete picture. We note that it does not appear your office has made a similar request for documents from members of the GPS industry," the lawyer said.

Electronics Weekly reports that uncertainty surrounding deployment details of LightSquared’s network is having a “chilling effect” on NextGen implementation, according to John Hickey, the FAA’s deputy associate administrator for aviation safety.  Hickey made the comments at the Air Traffic Control Association annual meeting recently in Washington, DC, where he also said that the FAA and LightSquared have been meeting weekly since June to discuss the impact of a deployment limited to the lower 10 MHz of LightSquared’s spectrum.  The article notes that Hickey also discussed the potential for future use of the upper 10 MHz.  Key quotes by Hickey follow.

·         "This is the most intractable problem I have been involved with in 31 years in aviation. Technology can solve this, but the real problem is time and cost." 

·         "There are 2,000 aircraft that fly into the U.S. daily and weekly. They will be significantly impacted if we can't solve the GPS issue.”

·         "We don't always agree with them [LightSquared] when we make assumptions on how to analyse [the interference]”… "It wouldn't surprise me if the [final] report will be that we agree to disagree.”

·         He said that analysis so far shows that precision timing and general use aviation GPS units "have to some degree a significant impact even on the lower [10MHz] band.”

·         "The at-play business case is operations in the lower band, though I do think there is significant concern over the long term use of the upper band. LightSquared has not given that band back to the FCC."

·         "If we have in any way a compromise to the [GPS] system, we compromise the future of NextGen.”

Communications Daily and TR Daily reported on recent comments by Angela Giancarlo, chief of staff to FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell, at a Washington luncheon sponsored by the Federal Communications Bar Association’s wireless committee.

·         "Is the FCC or someone else going to have to get into looking at receiver standards?"…"That really is the most nettlesome piece to me in the LightSquared debate. You've got decades of old equipment out there”…"What do you do, knock on people's doors and say your farming equipment that you invested a lot of money in 10 years ago isn't going to work anymore?"

Bloomberg reports on lobbying disclosures by LightSquared and Trimble Navigation, both of whom boosted lobbying efforts this year.

A Politico story about fundraising by supercommittee members notes that LightSquared’s PAC contributed $2,500 to Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich).

The Kansas City Business Journal reports that local opposition to LightSquared has gone beyond Garmin to include small business advocates. 

A cite list and links to the full text of these and other articles follow.

1.       COMMUNICATIONS DAILY, Clyburn Concerned About Size of USF Mobility Fund, Howard Buskirk, October 21, 2011 Friday, LENGTH: 683 words

2.       COMMUNICATIONS DAILY, SECTION: SATELLITE, October 21, 2011 Friday, LENGTH: 165 words

3.       Business Wire, Strategy Analytics: 4G and AT&T/T-Mobile Deal Dominates US Wireless Carriers;

4.       Further Consolidation in World's Largest 4G Market, October 20, 2011 Thursday 3:54 PM GMT, LENGTH: 418 words

5.       Emerging Issues Law Community Blog, Free Download: Keller & Heckman Telecom Business Alert - Vol. VIII Issue 41, October 20, 2011 Thursday 10:55 PM EST, LENGTH: 307 words

6.       FierceWireless, Sprint's Azzi talks about unlimited data plans, Wi-Fi offloading and QChat, October 20, 2011 Thursday 2:04 PM EST, LENGTH: 1318 words

7.       Telecommunications Reports, Dish Draws Concerns to Plan To Deploy Nationwide Network, 1394 words, 1 November 2011

8.       Telecommunications Reports, Lawmakers Seek to Balance GPS Concerns, Broadband, 1482 words, 1 November 2011

9.       Telecommunications Reports, LightSquared Says Compatible GPS Devices Ready for Testing, 821 words, 1 November 2011

10.   Communications Daily, Satellite, 306 words, 20 October 2011

11.   TR Daily, LightSquared, HARBINGER REFUSE TO PROVIDE DOCUMENTS TO GRASSLEY, 709 words, 20 October 2011, Paul Kirby

12.   TR Daily, FCC LEGAL ADVISERS HIGHLIGHT SPECTRAL EFFICIENCY, USAGE, 20 October 2011, Paul Kirby, 679 words

13.   Bloomberg Businessweek, LightSquared, GPS Maker Boost Lobbying in Washington Showdown, October 20, 2011, 5:26 PM EDT, By Todd Shields and Jonathan D. Salant

14.   Precision Pays, LightSquared Wireless Broadband – A Detriment to Rural America?, by Melissa – October 21st, 2011

15.   Bloomberg, Falcone, LightSquared Decline Senator’s Request for Records, October 20, 2011, 12:30 PM EDT, By Todd Shields

16.   Kansas City Business Journal , LightSquared faces broader spectrum of opponents to wireless network, by Alyson Raletz, Reporter, Date: Friday, October 21, 2011, 5:00am CDT

17.   Electronics Weekly, Avionics: LightSquared quandary stalling early NextGen implementation – FAA, John Croft, Flight Global, Friday 21 October 2011 09:44

18.   The Hill, LightSquared refuses to release communications with White House, By Brendan Sasso - 10/20/11 04:10 PM ET

19.   Broadcasting & Cable, LightSquared, Harbinger Won't Turn Over Documents to Grassley; FCC has already rejected republican Senator's request, By John Eggerton, 10/20/2011 11:44:45 AM

20.   GPS World, LightSquared: The So-Called "Fix", October 20, 2011 By: Eric Gakstatter, Survey Scene, October 2011

21.   Politico, Lobbyist cash for debt panel PACs, By: Jake Sherman and Anna Palmer, October 20, 2011 02:42 PM EDT

22.   The Hill, LightSquared harms GPS, By Jim Kirkland, vice president and general counsel of Trimble, a founding member of the Coalition to Save Our GPS, 10/21/11 10:47 AM ET

***Excerpts/Links to Full Text of Articles***

COMMUNICATIONS DAILY, Clyburn Concerned About Size of USF Mobility Fund, Howard Buskirk, October 21, 2011 Friday, LENGTH: 683 words

Sharing spectrum is critical and cognitive technologies could help, Giancarlo said. "The rallying cry of `we need more spectrum' is very easy, and everyone understands it," she said. "But at the same time, there are remedies in the marketplace right now to be able to maximize efficiency and spread the consumer benefits." More could be done, Giancarlo said. "Is the FCC or someone else going to have to get into looking at receiver standards?" she asked. "That really is the most nettlesome piece to me in the LightSquared debate. You've got decades of old equipment out there," she said. "What do you do, knock on people's doors and say your farming equipment that you invested a lot of money in 10 years ago isn't going to work anymore?"

COMMUNICATIONS DAILY, SECTION: SATELLITE, October 21, 2011 Friday, LENGTH: 165 words

LightSquared declined late Wednesday the request from Senate Judiciary Ranking Member Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa(CD Oct 11 p17) for copies of communications between Harbinger Capital Partners, LightSquared and the FCC. "Given the transparent efforts of the GPS industry to politicize this issue, I admittedly have concerns that any materials we provide may be used selectively or taken out of context," LightSquared's outside attorney said. "We believe that obtaining documents and information only from Harbinger and LightSquared would result in an incomplete picture. We note that it does not appear your office has made a similar request for documents from members of the GPS industry," it said. A Grassley spokeswoman responded that "if it means LightSquared and Harbinger are going to respond fully to Senator Grassley's request for documents, then document requests from Senator Grassley to Garmin, Trimble and John Deere will be sent today." LightSquared and the GPS companies didn't comment.

Business Wire, Strategy Analytics: 4G and AT&T/T-Mobile Deal Dominates US Wireless Carriers;

Further Consolidation in World's Largest 4G Market, October 20, 2011 Thursday 3:54 PM GMT, LENGTH: 418 words

The expected completion of T-Mobile USA being acquired by AT&T will only be the first of several carrier consolidations to shape the US 4G landscape. As rivals look to catch up with the early LTE lead of Verizon Wireless, Sprint will dictate the viability of wholesale ventures at LightSquared and Clearwire. The Strategy Analytics Wireless Operator Strategies (WOS) service report, "US Wireless Market Outlook 2011-2016 ," forecasts that LTE will account for half of all wireless connections by 2016.

Strategy Analytics foresees success for AT&T in its acquisition of T-Mobile, though concessions will need to be made. AT&T will need to work hard to turn around T-Mobile's stagnating operations and marry the two distinct brands. The additional market concentration will raise the stakes in an increasingly cost-conscious carrier landscape, but also offers opportunities for AT&T's rivals.

To read more click here.

Emerging Issues Law Community Blog, Free Download: Keller & Heckman Telecom Business Alert - Vol. VIII Issue 41, October 20, 2011 Thursday 10:55 PM EST, LENGTH: 307 words

LightSquared Claims GPS Interference Caused by Ignored Standards

In a letter filed with the FCC last week, LightSquared claimed GPS manufacturers ignored government standards adopted by the Defense Department in developing GPS receivers. By ignoring these standards, LightSquared asserts that GPS receivers receive signals from the adjacent frequency band licensed to LightSqaured and these signals result in interference to GPS devices. While the GPS industry has expressed concerns that LightSquared's operations interfere with GPS receivers, LightSquared asserts GPS receivers are not entitled to protection from interference from neighboring bands. The company has reportedly threatened legal action if the FCC does not approve the proposed network after the latest round of testing is concluded. The current testing was required by a  Public Notice issued by the FCC last month.

To read more click here.

FierceWireless, Sprint's Azzi talks about unlimited data plans, Wi-Fi offloading and QChat, October 20, 2011 Thursday 2:04 PM EST, LENGTH: 1318 words

Exactly two years after Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) inked its ground-breaking network management deal (called Network Advantage) with Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC), Sue Marek, Editor in Chief of FierceWireless, sat down with Bob Azzi , senior vice president of networks at Sprint Nextel, to talk about the long-term advantages of that deal, Sprint's Network Vision network modernization plan, whether Sprint will be able to keep up with mobile data demand and maintain its unlimited data price plan, and how the company plans to incorporate Wi-Fi offloading into its toolbox. 

FierceWireless: When I heard you speak at the PCIA Wireless Infrastructure conference you said you think the Ericsson managed services deal with Sprint was a success. Why?

Azzi:  Yes, it's a success. That's not to say that everything has been perfectly harmonious.  That would be impractical and no one would believe that in a relationship of this scale that everything could be ideal and prefect.  We have day-to-day problems to solve. But it fulfilled my hopes and went beyond my expectations.

To read more click here.

Telecommunications Reports, Dish Draws Concerns to Plan To Deploy Nationwide Network, 1394 words, 1 November 2011

Dish wants the FCC to waive its integrated service requirement and allow single-mode terrestrial devices to be used on its network - a waiver that LightSquared, Inc., conditionally received in January (TR, Feb. 1). Dish also wants a waiver of the FCC's spare satellite mandate "as DISH will have at its disposal in-orbit capacity that can be marshaled in case of a catastrophic failure." And it asked the Commission to "harmonize the regime applicable to TerreStar and DBSD by extending across the entire 2 GHz MSS allocation various waivers of the FCC's rules previously obtained by DBSD. These actions will enable DISH to make more efficient and consistent use of that spectrum to support next-generation mobile broadband services."

In September, the FCC sought comments on Dish's request to acquire control of licenses and authorizations held by New DBSD Satellite Services G.P. Debtor-in-Possession and TerreStar License, Inc., Debtor-in-Possession, as well as applications seeking rule waivers and license modifications filed by New DBSD and TerreStar.

"CTIA believes that DISH's application touches on important issues that should be addressed in a proceeding of general applicability, not in the limited context of a single party's application," CTIA said, citing FCC proceedings on its ATC (ancillary terrestrial component) rules and use of the 2 GHz band. "Further, DISH's proposed service would create the significant potential for harmful interference to incumbent PCS networks. The recent LightSquared proceeding demonstrates the importance of identifying and resolving known interference concerns prior to taking action on a waiver petition. .... CTIA urges the Commission not to repeat here the mistakes made in the LightSquared proceeding."

CTIA added, "The Commission should instead focus on developing a holistic and comprehensive band plan that considers all of the spectrum available for mobile broadband services as well as the interactions between the various bands and the interference challenges associated with particular spectrum pairings. The Commission must also carefully examine the impact of the various technical rule waivers DISH has sought, and not grant any waiver that would subject incumbent PCS licensees and/or their customers to harmful interference."

Telecommunications Reports, Lawmakers Seek to Balance GPS Concerns, Broadband, 1482 words, 1 November 2011

Members of a House Small Business Committee hearing Oct. 12 raised concerns about the potential for interference to GPS (Global Positioning System) technology from LightSquared, Inc.'s proposed wireless operations. But at the same time, lawmakers - particularly those representing rural areas - acknowledged the potential rural broadband deployment benefits that LightSquared's operations could bring, prompting suggestions that, at a minimum, more testing should be done.

At the hearing, Chairman Sam Graves (R., Mo.) outlined the balancing act facing policymakers. "LightSquared aims at providing wireless 4G broadband coverage to 260 million Americans in both rural and urban communities by 2015," he said. "I agree that we need to find innovative ways to provide high-speed Internet access to underserved areas.

"However, such innovation should not jeopardize currently established systems including GPS and add more unnecessary burdens to those that use them," Rep. Graves added.

One of the main issues involved interference concerns related to "precision" GPS devices, such as those used in agricultural applications. Rick Green, precision agronomy manager at MFA, Inc., estimated that there are 1 million such high-accuracy GPS receivers used in agriculture, construction, survey, oil, gas, utility, and government operations.

"It will take 10 to 15 years to complete a normal replacement cycle and it affects up to $10 billion in equipment," Mr. Green said. Even if the proposed interference filter works, "implanting it to the 1 million receivers will cost $300 to $800 million which doesn't include the additional personnel, installation and down-time. It's like saying that because Chevy has an all-electric car on the market we can shut down every gas station in the U.S. next year or all analog TVs need to be replaced the day the digital switch was turned on."

Telecommunications Reports, LightSquared Says Compatible GPS Devices Ready for Testing, 821 words, 1 November 2011

LightSquared Subsidiary LLC says that manufacturer Javad GNSS, Inc., has developed an antenna for high-precision GPS (Global Positioning System) that is compatible with proposed LightSquared terrestrial operations in its lower 10 megahertz band. It also said that Partron America Corp. has developed a filter that is similarly compatible, and PCTEL, Inc., has developed compatible chip sets.

Once LightSquared has completed its own testing of the antenna and components, it will deliver them to the relevant government agencies - including the FCC and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration - for their testing, Martin Harriman, executive vice president-ecosystem development and satellite business for LightSquared told reporters at a briefing Oct. 13. He noted that a letter from NTIA that set Nov. 30 as a deadline for further testing on compatibility of LightSquared lower band operations with nonprecision GPS devices "doesn't give a timeline for high-precision devices."

As for GPS industry protests that bringing the new technology to the field could take years, Mr. Harriman said, "These are big companies that quite regularly do recalls."

Javad Ashjaee, president and chief executive officer of Javad GNSS, said that it "took us about two weeks to build a prototype" of the antenna, and that 50 units have been delivered in the preproduction process. "If it passes all the tests, ... we push a button to manufacture by the thousands," he said.

Mr. Ashjaee said that his company could produce about 300 antennas a day, but that a subcontractor could produce perhaps 30,000 a day.

Communications Daily, Satellite, 306 words, 20 October 2011

LightSquared has other options if the upper 10 MHz of its L-band spectrum proves unable to coexist with GPS services, Jeff Carlisle, LightSquared executive vice president-regulatory affairs, told House Science Committee Chairman Ralph Hall, R-Texas, in a written response. Carlisle was responding to a series of questions submitted by Hall and other committee members as part of the committee's hearing on LightSquared's effect on federal science activities (CD Sept 9 p2). LightSquared can add more towers within the lower part of the L-band spectrum, use the upper parts of the band with lower power or other adjustments or use alternative spectrum, said Carlisle. LightSquared expects it won't need more than the bottom 10 MHz for its services for at least five or six years, he said.

TR Daily, LightSquared, HARBINGER REFUSE TO PROVIDE DOCUMENTS TO GRASSLEY, 709 words, 20 October 2011, Paul Kirby

An attorney for Harbinger Capital Partners LLC and LightSquared, Inc., told Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R., Iowa) yesterday that the companies won’t provide documents sought by the lawmaker “at this time,” but he implied they might do so if the lawmaker makes a document request from Global Positioning System companies.

Yesterday’s letter from Mark Paoletta, a partner at Dickstein Shapiro LLP, was sent in response to Oct. 5 letters Sen. Grassley sent to Harbinger Chief Executive Officer Philip Falcone and LightSquared Chairman and CEO Sanjiv Ahuja seeking details on communications between LightSquared and Harbinger and the FCC, White House, and the Commerce Department related to LightSquared’s L-band network (TRDaily, Oct. 6).

In his letters, Sen. Grassley said that if LightSquared and Harbinger have “nothing to hide and would like to put questions of improper influence at the FCC, Department of Commerce, and White House to rest, the public release of these communications would allow Congress and the American people to fully examine the facts and decide for themselves. Incomplete information about this project only undermines public confidence in the FCC’s decision to allow this project to move forward.” He asked for the records by yesterday.

The senator has also asked the FCC to produce e mails and other communications between LightSquared, Harbinger, and Mr. Falcone, and the Commission. He also wants any communications between the FCC and the White House regarding Mr. Falcone. But he has not gotten any of the records he has sought. The senator and other lawmakers have raised concerns about inappropriate communications between LightSquared representatives and the White House at a time when Messrs. Ahuja and Falcone donated money to Democrats. LightSquared and the White House have said there were no inappropriate communications.

In addition to seeking details in his letters about contacts between LightSquared and Harbinger and the FCC, White House, and Commerce Department, Sen. Grassley in his letters raised several complaints about statements LightSquared has made.

TR Daily, FCC LEGAL ADVISERS HIGHLIGHT SPECTRAL EFFICIENCY, USAGE, 20 October 2011, Paul Kirby, 679 words

Even as the federal government searches for additional frequencies for wireless broadband services, wireless legal advisers to FCC Commissioners said today that it also must ensure that current allocations are being used efficiently and that technological solutions are employed to get the most out of bandwidth.

The legal advisers spoke at a Washington luncheon sponsored by the Federal Communications Bar Association’s wireless committee.

Mark Stone, chief of staff and wireless legal adviser to Commissioner Michael J. Copps, said that his boss supports incentive auctions but he also thinks it’s important to make more efficient use of spectrum through technology and get a better sense of how incumbents are currently using their frequencies. “Getting a little bit more granular on that would be a great thing,” he said.

Louis Peraertz, wireless legal adviser to Commissioner Mignon L. Clyburn, agreed. He also said that Ms. Clyburn wants to make sure that the incentive auctions plan doesn’t negatively impact over-the-air TV viewers.

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski has said that the FCC has completed a “baseline spectrum inventory”through its LicenseView and Spectrum Dashboard that confirms the need for Congress to authorize incentive auctions.

Bloomberg Businessweek, LightSquared, GPS Maker Boost Lobbying in Washington Showdown, October 20, 2011, 5:26 PM EDT, By Todd Shields and Jonathan D. Salant

Oct. 20 (Bloomberg) -- Philip Falcone’s LightSquared wireless venture and its critic Trimble Navigation Ltd. boosted lobbying this year as a fight escalated in Washington over whether the project will harm the global-positioning system.

Lobbying spending by Reston, Virginia-based LightSquared climbed to at least $1.2 million from Jan. 1 through Sept. 30, a 123 percent increase from the first nine months of 2010, according to U.S. Senate records reviewed today.

Spending by Sunnyvale, California-based navigation-gear maker Trimble reached $1 million through Sept. 30, more than triple the amount from the same period a year earlier, according to Senate records. Today is the deadline for third-quarter lobbying reports to be filed with the Senate.

LightSquared, backed by $3 billion from Falcone’s Harbinger Capital Partners hedge fund, wants to offer high-speed Internet service to as many as 260 million people using airwaves previously reserved mainly for satellites.

To read more click here.

Precision Pays, LightSquared Wireless Broadband – A Detriment to Rural America?, by Melissa – October 21st, 2011

Rick Greene, Precision Agronomy Manager for MFA Incorporated in Columbia, Mo., an Ag Leader Blue Delta Dealer, recently spoke at a Congressional Hearing in Washington, D.C. about preserving the integrity of GPS systems.

In his testimony, Greene said, “I began my precision agriculture journey in 1995 when my father purchased one of the first yield monitoring systems with GPS. While at Iowa State University, as accuracy improved, I came to love what precision agriculture can do for farming by preserving the environment, minimizing inputs, and maximizing yield to give our farmers a greater return on their investment.”

Over the years, GPS and technology have evolved exponentially. Efficiency and increased productivity is the key to farmers’ survival in this global market.

Jess Lowenberg-DeBoer with Purdue University did a study in 2004 on a 1,800-acre model farm and found that a farmer will decrease his hours of operation by 17% if they use high accuracy GPS. This decrease includes fuel, maintenance, labor hours, and inputs like seed, pesticides and fertilizer.

The precision agriculture industry has over 400,000 high accuracy receivers valued ~ $13,000 with a replacement cycle of 10 to 15 years and adds approximately $19.9 billion per year of value to the grower.

To read more click here.

Bloomberg, Falcone, LightSquared Decline Senator’s Request for Records, October 20, 2011, 12:30 PM EDT, By Todd Shields

(Updates with comment from Grassley’s office.)

Oct. 20 (Bloomberg) -- Philip Falcone and his LightSquared wireless venture declined to provide documents about contacts with the White House and U.S. regulators sought by a Republican senator, according to a letter released by the lawmaker.

Senator Charles Grassley hasn’t made similar requests of LightSquared critics, and therefore Falcone and LightSquared “decline to agree to your request for documents at this time,” Mark Paoletta, a Washington-based lawyer with Dickstein Shapiro LLP, said in an Oct. 19 letter distributed today by the Iowa Republican.

LightSquared, backed by $3 billion from Falcone’s Harbinger Capital Partners hedge fund, wants to offer wholesale service through a network of base stations using airwaves previously reserved mainly for satellites. Makers and users of global- positioning system devices say LightSquared’s signals will disrupt navigation by planes, boats, tractors and automobiles.

To read more click here.

Kansas City Business Journal , LightSquared faces broader spectrum of opponents to wireless network, by Alyson Raletz, Reporter, Date: Friday, October 21, 2011, 5:00am CDT

Local opposition to LightSquared Inc.’s use of a wireless frequency that disrupts some GPS signals is growing beyond Garmin Ltd., hitting a chord with small business advocates.

The navigational device-maker, which has an operational headquarters in Olathe, has led opponents of LightSquared’s proposed broadband wireless network.

LightSquared, based in Reston, Va., looks to deploy the network by 2014, but critics have held up Federal Communications Commission proceedings and a potential deal with Sprint Nextel Corp.    They cite public safety issues surrounding the network’s clashes with global-positioning systems devices that the aviation and agricultural industries use. LightSquared has commissioned the development...

To read more click here.

Electronics Weekly, Avionics: LightSquared quandary stalling early NextGen implementation – FAA, John Croft, Flight Global, Friday 21 October 2011 09:44

John Hickey, the US Federal Aviation Administration's deputy associate administrator for aviation safety, says the uncertainty on implementation details of broadband wholesaler LightSquared's new L-band 4G network is having a "chilling effect" on operators considering equipping with next generation air transportation system (NextGen) avionics. Those avionics include the automatic dependent surveillance - broadcast (ADS-B) units that airlines must install by 2020.

The FAA is pushing for early adoption of ADS-B by operators.

But Hickey warned, "operators will wait several years down the road to see what happens". Speaking at the Air Traffic Control Association annual meeting recently in Washington, DC Hickey stated: "This is the most intractable problem I have been involved with in 31 years in aviation. Technology can solve this, but the real problem is time and cost."

Hickey says the problem extends past US borders. "There are 2,000 aircraft that fly into the US daily and weekly. They will be significantly impacted if we can't solve the GPS issue," Hickey said.

LightSquared in January gained US FCC conditional approval to deploy an L-band (satellite-based) broadband network, pending the results of what turned out to be a massive four-month investigation of potential GPS interference by industry, government and LightSquared. The FCC's January decision allowed LightSquared to roll out, pending the interference analysis, a full-time nationwide network based on an existing "ancillary terrestrial component" (ATC) provision that, in all other cases, allowed for rebroadcasting L-band signals only as gap-filler for land-based networks.

The final report in June showed that the LightSquared final deployment plan featuring an "upper" 10MHz channel near the GPS band operating simultaneously with a "lower" 10MHz band had a devastating effect for aviation's certified receivers, precision receivers (including WAAS and certain ADS-B ground station components) and general purpose receivers (non-certified airborne units).

To read more click here.

The Hill, LightSquared refuses to release communications with White House, By Brendan Sasso - 10/20/11 04:10 PM ET

Wireless company LightSquared has refused a request from Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) to release its communications with the White House and the Federal Communications Commission.

Grassley, the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, requested the documents earlier this month to probe whether the company benefited from improper influence in its effort to secure regulatory approval. LightSquared told Grassley it would "respectfully decline" his request in a letter Wednesday night.

LightSquared plans to launch a wholesale wireless broadband service, but tests earlier this year revealed its network interferes with Global Positioning System (GPS) devices. The company is currently undergoing a new round of testing to determine if technical modifications have addressed the interference problem.

FCC officials have said they will not allow the company to move forward until the GPS issues are resolved.

Republican lawmakers began calling for an investigation of the company's lobbying efforts after emails revealed LightSquared had communicated with senior White House aides. The administration also reportedly asked an Air Force general to change his testimony in a congressional briefing to make it more supportive of the company.

To read more click here.

Broadcasting & Cable, LightSquared, Harbinger Won't Turn Over Documents to Grassley; FCC has already rejected republican Senator's request, By John Eggerton, 10/20/2011 11:44:45 AM

LightSquared and parent Harbinger Capital have declined to provide documents to Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) about their contacts with the FCC and White House over LightSquared's FCC waiver to launch a national, wholesale 4G terrestrial service using its satellite spectrum.

In a letter to Grassley, the companies said that they were concerned about the GPS industry's efforts to politicize the issue, and said that since Grassley had not appeared to ask for documents from its members, Garmin, Trimble or John Deere, for example, they "respectfully declined" to provide that info.

The FCC has already rejected a Grassley request for documents, saying that it only responds to requests from committee chairs.

To read more click here.

GPS World, LightSquared: The So-Called "Fix", October 20, 2011 By: Eric Gakstatter, Survey Scene, October 2011

LightSquared’s been in the news quite a bit since my last Survey Scene newsletter a month ago, but very little of it has actual consequence. A lot of the “news” is just noise. LightSquared pumped up its propaganda campaign nationwide to try to build a consensus in their favor and put pressure on the FCC, and is threatening a lawsuit if the FCC doesn’t do what LightSquared wants. No surprises there. However, other things have happened that I think you might be interested in hearing about.

Most interesting was the partnership announced between JAVAD GNSS and LightSquared to develop a solution for LightSquared’s GPS-jamming problem. I had the opportunity to sit down briefly with Dr. Javad Ashjaee at the INTERGEO conference in Germany after he announced his company's partnership with LightSquared. He's a sharp engineer and well-worth listening to. Essentially, he made three points:

1. This is s spectrum issue that isn’t going away even if LightSquared isn’t allowed to proceed, so it’s in the best interest of the GPS industry to work on a solution no matter what the FCC's decision is.

I've written about this issue before and I agree that the MSS spectrum has got a bull’s-eye on it. It’s a big piece of spectrum when not a lot of wireless spectrum is left to be developed. One could argue that it has its purpose as an MSS band, but the counter to that argument is that it's under-performing. There's only so much one can do with MSS spectrum.

That leaves two choices: the first is to keep it allocated as low-power MSS (satellite-to-earth communications) as it has historically been used. It could also be officially established and recognized as a guard band for GPS so this problem doesn't crop up again. GPS is an important enough national asset to make this a reasonable discussion. The LightSquared debate has done a fantastic job of raising awareness of the importance of GPS technology in our everyday lives as well as the commercial and military markets. GPS has and will continue to contribute more jobs, revenue, and growth to the U.S. and world economy than LightSquared could ever dream of. You can quickly dismiss anyone who claims otherwise.

To read more click here.

Politico, Lobbyist cash for debt panel PACs, By: Jake Sherman and Anna Palmer, October 20, 2011 02:42 PM EDT

The supercommittee is hunkering down to find $1.2 trillion to help eat away at the nation’s deficit.

But fundraising reports from September released Thursday show the committee’s members in the House are also pulling in tens of thousands of dollars in contributions.

A review of both Democratic and Republican leadership PAC filings for September found that the members of the supercommittee are taking cash from lobbyists, PACs and industries that may be affected by the panel’s deficit-reduction proposal. Quarterly campaign reports released earlier this week didn’t find a clear surge in fundraising for members of the powerful committee, but they did find fundraising was ongoing, even as some on the committee had vowed to pare back their efforts.

For example, Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), the co-chair of the deficit panel, raised $14,500 in September, mostly from donors in the Lone Star State, according to a filing released Thursday. His JEB Fund leadership PAC also got $1,000 on Sept. 28 from Geoffrey Gradler, a D.C. lobbyist, the World Acceptance Corporation PAC and the Investment Company Institute PAC.

Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.), a supercommittee member and the chairman of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee, pulled $81,100 into his Continuing a Majority Party Political Action Committee. Camp said he would not schedule additional fundraisers while on the panel, but would attend previously organized events.

To read more click here.

The Hill, LightSquared harms GPS, By Jim Kirkland, vice president and general counsel of Trimble, a founding member of the Coalition to Save Our GPS, 10/21/11 10:47 AM ET

LightSquared has been trying for nearly a year to show that it can provide new broadband services without seriously undermining the critical GPS uses and applications Americans rely on every day. It has consistently failed to make its case. But that hasn’t slowed down a LightSquared public relations barrage proclaiming solution after solution.  

This time around it’s new equipment that provides a technical fix for interference, “developed in days” by a small GPS company that has a very large commercial interest in LightSquared being allowed to proceed with its proposed nationwide terrestrial broadband network. Earlier this week, Dr. Javad Ashjaee, the developer of the claimed new technology, declared in The Hill that, “Technology has solved the problem, now we just have to wait for the politicians to catch up.” [LightSquared and GPS can coexist, 10/18/2011].

What many of the politicians Dr. Ashjaee so readily dismisses are doing is something LightSquared and Dr. Ashjaee need to emulate, and that’s wait for the facts to be established by real evidence, not press releases.

It might be different if Dr. Ashjaee’s sponsor, LightSquared, had a better track record of predicting when technological issues are actually solved.   When it first submitted its new business plan to the FCC last fall, LightSquared insisted its signals could coexist with GPS. Only when, late in the testing process, LightSquared saw test results showing that its transmissions would wipe out GPS signals to hundreds of millions of receivers, did it abruptly propose an entirely different deployment plan, declaring it a “solution” that needed no more testing.   Several more modifications followed, and LightSquared proclaimed each to be a solution.  The NTIA and the FCC recently disagreed and ordered new testing.

After all that, even LightSquared has admitted that its plans would still interfere with GPS receivers used in high-precision applications like aviation, agriculture, transportation, construction and surveying.  So, not surprisingly, LightSquared announced another “solution,” this time from Dr. Ashjaee.  

To read more click here

 

 
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