LightSquared’s Fall is a Lesson in Lawlessness
The LightSquared plan to provide a nationwide LTE wireless network that could reach both city and country is dead for the foreseeable future. The NTIA letter asserting that no GPS interference fix is likely for years to come and subsequent FCC response give LightSquared almost zero wiggle room to escape its current trap. Given the billions of dollars invested, it seems likely that Harbinger will have to turn to the courts for relief.
So what lead to this very expensive failure? The immediate problem is that almost every GPS unit in use “listens” to signals from outside the designated GPS spectrum range. So if spectrum neighbor LightSquared broadcasts in its spectrum range, the GPS receivers “hear” the signal, fail to understand the message and thus are unable to hear the true location tracking information being broadcast from satellite base transmitters. This is like complaining that your neighbor’s pool party is too loud when you are the uninvited guest who is sitting in front of the speakers in your neighbor’s patio.
The FCC even warned the GPS industry years ago that the L band spectrum owned by LightSquared could be used for terrestial service at some point. The GPS industry failed to heed the warning and implement more finally tuned/filtered receivers for their GPS units. Their failure now costs LightSquared investors their money, the employees their jobs, the vendors their projects, and the public a nationwide mobile wireless service.
Rather than arresting the complaining pool party trespasser, the government has instead shut down the LightSquared pool party. Why? Because the trespasser yelled the loudest in the political arena One can only hope that the FCC also mandates property filtering of GPS receivers as well.