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Coaltion-to-Save-Our-GPS-Updates March 21
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Coalition to Save Our GPS Clips

March 21, 2012

 

Communications Daily reports that the FCC is expected to propose getting rid of ancillary terrestrial component (ATC) rules for the S-band, potentially allowing Dish Network to provide terrestrial-only services in the 2 GHz spectrum allocated for mobile satellite services, industry and agency officials said of a rulemaking notice likely to be approved today. The article notes that the rulemaking would have largely the same result as the waiver Dish had previously requested, but can help avoid the criticism of the FCC that has accompanied questions about LightSquared.  The article quotes RCA President Steven Berry, who said RCA will likely ask for wholesale conditions:

 

·         "Several of our members signed agreements with LightSquared. LightSquared is currently out of the competitive market, but our carriers still need alternative solutions. Allowing competitive carriers access to 40 MHz of paired broadband spectrum would spur 4G deployment and benefit the entire industry, not to mention consumers."

 

BGR reports that shares of Sprint stock fell 4.5% Monday morning after an analyst said there is an increasing risk that the nation’s third largest wireless carrier could file for bankruptcy.  The article notes that Sprint recently terminated its agreement with LightSquared.

 

The Kansas City Business Journal, Fierce Mobile IT, The Register and CivSource continue to report that LightSquared submitted its case to the FCC in a filing Friday about why the commission should reverse a decision to keep the company from deploying  its 4G network.

 

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

 

1.       Kansas City Business Journal, LightSquared attacks FCC decision to bar its network, Date: Tuesday, March 20, 2012, 7:56am CDT

2.       BGR, Bankruptcy said to be a ‘very legitimate risk’ for Sprint, By: Dan Graziano | Mar 20th, 2012 at 11:05AM

3.       Fierce Mobile IT, LightSquared challenges FCC ruling to deny operation, cites Fifth Amendment, March 19, 2012 — 11:58am ET | By Wayne Rash

4.       The Register, LightSquared hits FCC right where it hurts, Offers let-out clause, but it won't be easy, By Bill Ray, Posted in Wireless, 20th March 2012 15:58 GMT

5.       CivSource, LightSquared comes out swinging, March 20, 2012 @ Bailey McCann

6.       Engadget, FreedomPop rumored to introduce iPhone case with free WiMAX service, By Zachary Lutz, posted Mar 21st 2012 4:55AM

7.       COMMUNICATIONS DAILY, March 21, 2012 Wednesday, FCC NPRM Seeks to Replace S-band ATC Authorization with Terrestrial License, Buildout Conditions, SECTION: TODAY'S NEWS, LENGTH: 618 words

 

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

 

Kansas City Business Journal, LightSquared attacks FCC decision to bar its network, Date: Tuesday, March 20, 2012, 7:56am CDT

 

LightSquared Inc. has taken several hits during the past few months — including losing a huge deal with Sprint Nextel Corp. — but it’s still swinging.

 

The Reston, Va., wireless startup has submitted its case to the Federal Communications Commission about why it should reverse a decision to keep LightSquared from using its 4G network, the Washington Business Journal reports.

 

The startup, which has sunk more than $4 billion into its plans, said in a Friday filing that the FCC is disregarding its mission of promoting wireless competition and trampling on LightSquared’s constitutional rights.

 

To read more click here.

 

BGR, Bankruptcy said to be a ‘very legitimate risk’ for Sprint, By: Dan Graziano | Mar 20th, 2012 at 11:05AM

 

Shares of Sprint stock fell 4.5% Monday morning after an analyst said there is an increasing risk that the nation’s third largest wireless carrier could file for bankruptcy. The company is facing increased competition, growing debt and steep costs, with flops in Clearwire’s WiMAX technology, a failed LightSquared partnership and a risky $15.5 billion gamble on Apple’s iPhone further complicating its position. Read on for more.

 

Bernstein analyst Craig Moffett downgraded Sprint shares to Underperform from Market-perform, stating that the company will face “new and larger risks” if Apple launches a 4G LTE-enabled iPhone later this year, a technology which rival networks have more widely available. “To be clear, we are not predicting a Sprint bankruptcy,” Moffett said in a note to investors according to Reuters. “We are merely acknowledging that it is a very legitimate risk. And notwithstanding a recent rally in Sprint shares, we believe that risk is rising.”

 

While Moffett doesn’t expect Sprint to file for bankruptcy any time soon, he did caution that the network is set to repay $2.6 billion of its debt in 2015, the same year the company will acquire $3 billion in debt from Clearwire. Several other analysts have said that they do not see Sprint filing for bankruptcy in the next few years, however.

 

To read more click here.

 

Fierce Mobile IT, LightSquared challenges FCC ruling to deny operation, cites Fifth Amendment, March 19, 2012 — 11:58am ET | By Wayne Rash

  

LightSquared, the Reston, Va. company that had planned to create a nationwide 4G LTE wholesale data network until its operations plans were denied by the Federal Communications Commission, has filed a public comment (.pdf) with the FCC challenging the agency's right to keep it from operating. The wide-ranging challenge claims that the public interest would be harmed by not allowing LightSquared to provide broadband service nationally, and that the FCC violated the Administrative Procedures Act (which governs how federal agencies operate). LightSquared also claims the decision has violated its contracts with the FCC. The company recently hired a high-profile legal team to help press its claims.

 

Finally, LightSquared is claiming that the FCC is being unfair in that the agency not only issued a permit to use the frequencies, but encouraged LightSquared, only to later change its mind. LightSquared's primary claim is that GPS receivers don't deserve protection from interference since they are an unlicensed services. LightSquared's response does not address the substantial public interest involving the tens of millions of GPS users who would lose service should LightSquared's network begin operating, nor the cost to rescue workers, the airlines and the military.

 

LightSquared initially won a spectrum auction for a frequency band adjacent to the frequencies used by GPS. That frequency band was originally designated for mobile satellite use, but LightSquared asked for, and received, permission to convert the use of the band to 40,000 terrestrial high-power transmitters. It's those high-power transmitters that would overwhelm the highly sensitive receivers used by GPS devices.

 

To read more click here.

 

The Register, LightSquared hits FCC right where it hurts, Offers let-out clause, but it won't be easy, By Bill Ray, Posted in Wireless, 20th March 2012 15:58 GMT

 

LightSquared has issued a formal response to the threatened suspension of its licence, accusing the FCC of political bias and riding roughshod over precedent and Constitutional rights.

 

The damning response runs to more than 400 pages (PDF, comprehensible but very long), but mostly reiterates the arguments that LightSquared won't knock out GPS systems, and that even if it did it wouldn't be LightSquared's problem. The filing also lays out the legal case, should the FCC fail to change its mind, and offers one way for the regulator to avoid litigation entirely, from LightSquared at least...

 

LightSquared's filing also addresses what it sees as common misconceptions about its business: that the interference issues are a recent development, that it needs the licence waiver to operate, and that there is no precedent for the FCC agreeing to swap the unusable spectrum for a chunk of the good stuff.

 

LightSquared points out that more than a decade ago, in 2001, satellite operator Inmarsat filed an objection to the planned ground network for fear of interfering with GPS systems. Since then LightSquared paid $100,000 for a Department of Defense study which positioned 520 base stations around Baltimore and Washington to see if GPS systems would be affected.

 

That study, LightSquared claims, satisfied both the DoD and the NTIA (National Telecommunications and Information Administration) that its network would not leak signals into the neighbouring GPS bands. At the time, the NTIA was only worried about that kind of out-of-band emission so LightSquared went ahead and spent $1.1bn launching a couple of satellites, and almost half a billion licensing additional spectrum from Inmarsat.

 

To read more click here.

 

CivSource, LightSquared comes out swinging, March 20, 2012 @ Bailey McCann

 

Last month, the Federal Communications Commission blocked wireless technology services from the Virginia company, LightSquared because of the interference it caused with Global Positioning System (GPS) signals. The move resulted in very public claims from the company and its hedge fund backer Philip Falcone, CEO of Harbinger Capitsl that the company would affirm its stance and may take legal action. The open volley of that action was released today in the form of a 400+ page response to the threat of having its license suspended.

 

The response opens with a blistering indictment of the FCC decision- “The Commission encouraged—and, indeed, affirmatively required— LightSquared to deploy a nationwide 4G LTE network by 2015 to aid the Commission in achieving its broadband policy goals. LightSquared committed fully to meeting the Commission’s mandate, investing more than $4 billion to extend competitive broadband access to hundreds of millions of consumers. The basic legal framework that enabled this investment in America’s future was established by a final Commission order almost seven years ago, after a four-year rulemaking process, and a licensing process in which the GPS industry provided support for the network that it now seeks to destroy.”

 

From there the company lays out its case noting that if there is interference with GPS devices, because of the LightSquared network it’s not their fault. The company further explains that the interference at the core of the FCC’s case is not new and was in fact known during many of the early discussions of the network.

 

Indeed, the company paid $100,000 for a Department of Defense study which studied the effect of any interference and determined that the effects were not significant.

 

Now, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) is claiming that the problematic interference impacts devices that except frequencies from outside of its band. LightSquared counters this claim by noting that industry should not be required to protect poorly designed unregulated devices that operate outside of their supposed function.

 

To read more click here.

 

Engadget, FreedomPop rumored to introduce iPhone case with free WiMAX service, By Zachary Lutz, posted Mar 21st 2012 4:55AM

 

Lending a bit of credence to the notion that it'll have life beyond LightSquared, an insider at FreedomPop is now suggesting that it'll debut a case for the iPhone 4 / 4S that features a WiMAX radio, hotspot capabilities and delivers a free (albeit, limited) data service. This rumored accessory would complement the company's two previously known devices, which include a USB dongle and a dedicated hotspot. For those unfamiliar, FreedomPop aims to take on a role similar to NetZero -- it's said the company will offer each customer 1GB of free data per month, where each megabyte consumed beyond that limit will cost one penny. That's not to suggest that everything is free, however: the insider also states that customers will need to front a $100 deposit for this alleged case, although that money can be retrieved at any point, so long as the product is returned in good condition. Naturally, the utility of FreedomPop's service will be sorely limited if it's only available via WiMAX networks, but we've got a hunch that a few iPod Touch owners might find it quite useful in their attempt to skirt the carriers.

 

To read more click here.

 

COMMUNICATIONS DAILY, March 21, 2012 Wednesday, FCC NPRM Seeks to Replace S-band ATC Authorization with Terrestrial License, Buildout Conditions, SECTION: TODAY'S NEWS, LENGTH: 618 words

 

The FCC is expected to propose getting rid of ancillary terrestrial component (ATC) rules for the S-band, potentially allowing Dish Network to provide terrestrial-only services in the 2 GHz spectrum allocated for mobile satellite services, industry and agency officials said of a rulemaking notice likely to be approved Wednesday. The agency will propose buildout conditions and leave related questions about the 2 GHz spectrum and advanced wireless service (AWS) band plans within a notice of inquiry, they said. The NOI will consider the future of the proposed 2 GHz expansion band, at 1695-1710 MHz, primarily used by NOAA, FCC officials said.

 

The NTIA and FCC are already looking at the 1695-1710 MHz band, currently assigned on a co-primary basis to the meteorological satellite service, as one of the most promising for broadband. Wireless carriers have been less excited about the band than about 1755-1780 MHz. Unlike the 1755 MHz band, at 1695 MHz the government doesn't have to contend with as many federal incumbents. The lower band has two dominant uses, for weather balloons and weather satellite downlinks. The rulemaking notice is "pretty much down the middle," said an FCC official. "I don't think there will be any surprises." A commission spokesman had no comment. The earliest the agency would be able to put in place the new rules for the S-band would probably be late summer, said an industry executive. Agency officials have said they hope to have dealt with the Dish issue by the end of the year (CD March 6 p1). The rulemaking notice is expected to move to give Dish a Part 25 satellite license, meaning the MSS services could continue to operate, and a Part 27 license terrestrial wireless license with buildout conditions. The rulemaking would have largely the same result as the waiver Dish had previously requested, but can help avoid the criticism of the FCC that has accompanied questions about LightSquared, which received a conditional waiver of MSS/ATC rules, said executives. Dish didn't comment.

 

It's unlikely the FCC will propose conditions for Dish to make the S-band spectrum available on a wholesale basis, but it may ask for input on the idea, said Michael Calabrese of the New America Foundation. NAF and other public interest groups have said the FCC should include such a condition to help deal with the step-up in value for the S-band created by allowing for terrestrial-only service. "My guess is the NPRM will propose some substantial buildout requirements and ask if should go further on imposing other conditions like wholesale access and roaming," he said. "That's what we will be pushing for" and Calabrese said he hopes to be aligned with smaller carriers, such as members of the Rural Cellular Association.

 

RCA will probably ask for wholesale conditions, "providing competitive carriers another pathway to 4G," said President Steven Berry. "Several of our members signed agreements with LightSquared. LightSquared is currently out of the competitive market, but our carriers still need alternative solutions. Allowing competitive carriers access to 40 MHz of paired broadband spectrum would spur 4G deployment and benefit the entire industry, not to mention consumers."

 

 

 

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