Coalition to Save Our GPS Clips

 

Updated March 6, 2012

 

Inmarsat reported its financials for 2011, noting that revenue from its Cooperative Agreement with LightSquared was the primary driver of overall revenue growth. The company noted that recent regulatory developments in the United States have created uncertainty for LightSquared and that a payment from LightSquared that was due in February was not received and remains outstanding.

 

Bloomberg and Reuters reported on Inmarsat’s announcement, noting that the company said it cannot predict whether it will receive outstanding payments from LightSquared.

 

·         "We are asking people to remain very cautious about the prospects of us receiving more money from LightSquared," Chief Executive Rupert Pearce said…"The money is certainly owed but LightSquared's business model has clearly taken a knockback." [Reuters]

 

Maine State Rep. Diane Russell, who has penned pro-LightSquared op-eds in the past, argues in The Hill that LightSquared would provide the nation with needed broadband infrastructure, but that it “is falling victim to Washington politics.”  The piece blames the GPS industry for interference by LightSquared and for leading lobbying efforts that resulted in objections from conservative members of Congress, which she says has now resulted in the FCC “caving to the pressure.”

 

The American Surveyor posted a Coalition to Save Our GPS press release from Friday on comments filed with the FCC by The Transportation Construction Coalition (TCC), urging it to “adopt without delay” its February 15, 2012 proposals to withdraw LightSquared’s conditional waiver and modify its satellite license so that it is prohibited from building a ground-based wireless network.

 

Outlets including Washington Business Journal, DSL Reports, Broadcasting & Cable, Gigaom, Wireless Week, Mobiledia and The Register (UK) continue to report that the FCC denied Dish Network’s request for a waiver to use its spectrum for a land-based network, opting instead for a lengthy rule-making process. Many of the articles note that LightSquared requested a similar waiver and that the FCC has faced criticism for its handling of the company’s planned network.

 

Communications Daily reports that the FCC’s decision to put off Dish Network’s deployment creates significant uncertainty for the future of the frequencies, according to industry officials.

 

Southeast Farm Press and Vision 2 Mobile continue to report that the FCC granted LightSquared’s request to extend a comment period from March 1 until March 16, and that it set up a reply comment period that will last through March 30.

 

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

 

1.       Southeast Farm Press, LightSquared's comment extension request granted, From the National Cotton Council, Mar. 5, 2012 8:08am

2.       DSL Reports, FCC Delays Dish LTE Waiver Decision, Will Likely Still Grant Waiver By End of Year, by Karl Bode, March 5, 2012

3.       Broadcasting & Cable, FCC Delays Decision on Dish Waivers, Said its broadband plan made it clear it wanted to remove regulatory barriers to mobile broadband, it said it did not have sufficient basis in the current proceeding to grant the waivers, By John Eggerton, 3/5/2012 10:14:06 AM

4.       Gigaom, FCC avoiding LightSquared mistakes with Dish, By Kevin Fitchard Mar. 5, 2012, 8:22am PT

5.       Space News, Mon, 5 March, 2012, Pentagon Official’s Email Urged Colleagues To ‘Synch Up’ with GPS Lobby on LightSquared [Politico]

6.       Wireless Week, FCC Puts Dish LTE On Ice, By Maisie RamsayMonday, March 5, 2012

7.       Mobiledia, FCC Mulls Dish Network LTE, Slows Competition, BY MELISSA DANIELS | MON MAR 05, 2012 1:13 PM

8.       The Register (UK), FCC denies DISH a fast-track waiver for grounded network, By Bill Ray, Posted in Telecoms, 5th March 2012 20:04 GMT

9.       The Hill, LightSquared will make for a better connection, By Maine State Rep. Diane Russell, (D-Portland), 03/05/12 03:35 PM ET

10.   Vision 2 Mobile, LIGHTSQUARED GRANTED EXTENSION TO COMMENT ON NTIA LETTER, FCC'S PROPOSALS, 3/5/2012, By Josh Long

11.   Washington Business Journal Online, FCC deals setback to Dish Network's wireless network plans, Staff, 137 words, 5 March 2012

12.   PR Newswire, PRESS RELEASE, March 6, 2012, 2:07 a.m. EST, Inmarsat plc Reports Preliminary Full Year Results 2011

13.   Bloomberg, Inmarsat Can’t Predict Payments From LightSquared Following Discussions, By Chiara Remondini, Mar 6, 2012 6:45 AM ET

14.   Reuters, UPDATE 2-Inmarsat sees shipping driving slow recovery, Tue Mar 6, 2012 5:26am EST, By Paul Sandle

15.   TR Daily, DISH TERRESTRIAL NETWORK PLANS DEPEND ON RULEMAKING, ANALYSTS SAY, 371 words, 5 March 2012

16.   COMMUNICATIONS DAILY, March 06, 2012 Tuesday, S-Band Waiver Delay May Not Be All Bad News for Dish, SECTION: TODAY'S NEWS, LENGTH: 1258 words

17.   The American Surveyor, The Transportation Construction Coalition Urges FCC to Adopt Its Feb. 15 Proposals on LightSquared, Written by Coalition to Save Our GPS, Friday, 02 March 2012

 

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

 

Southeast Farm Press, LightSquared's comment extension request granted, From the National Cotton Council, Mar. 5, 2012 8:08am

 

The comment period was extended from March 1 until March 16; additional reply comments may be filed by March 30.

 

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) granted LightSquared’s request to extend the comment period for the public notice inviting input regarding the results of government testing on potential interference and proposals addressing those results.

 

The Coalition to Save Our GPS, of which the NCC is a member, opposed the original request for a 30-day extension, but was amenable to a 10-day extension. The comment period was extended from March 1 until March 16; additional reply comments may be filed by March 30.

 

To read more click here.

 

DSL Reports, FCC Delays Dish LTE Waiver Decision, Will Likely Still Grant Waiver By End of Year, by Karl Bode, March 5, 2012

 

The FCC stated on Friday they would be delaying their decision to grant Dish a necessary spectrum condition waiver, required for the company's planned LTE network. The FCC didn't cite reasons for the delay, but stated they would likely have a decision on the waiver by the end of the year. Dish Chair Charlie Egen recently stated they had roughly a 80% chance of success in getting the network built, a number they stated would decline if the FCC delayed their decision. The FCC may be waiting for the political fallout from LightSquared to cool down a bit -- and will likely ultimately grant the waiver given that unlike LightSquared, Dish's spectrum selection won't cause problems for GPS. The LTE Advanced equipment for its S-band spectrum Dish plans to use likely won't even be available until 2015 -- meaning the delay won't be fatal.

 

To read more click here.

 

Broadcasting & Cable, FCC Delays Decision on Dish Waivers, Said its broadband plan made it clear it wanted to remove regulatory barriers to mobile broadband, it said it did not have sufficient basis in the current proceeding to grant the waivers, By John Eggerton, 3/5/2012 10:14:06 AM

 

The FCC Friday approved Dish's purchase out of bankruptcy of satellite licenses from TerreStar and DBSD, but put off for another day a decision on whether to grant Dish a waiver to use them to deliver terrestrial cell phone service.

 

While the FCC said its broadband plan made it clear it wanted to remove regulatory barriers to mobile broadband, it said it did not have sufficient basis in the current proceeding to grant the waivers, but said they would be considered in a separate docket.

 

In a statement, DISH said it was disappointed and argued that the denial would delay the "advancement of some of President Obama's and the FCC's highest priorities -- namely freeing up new spectrum for commercial use and introducing new mobile broadband competition."

 

The FCC recently moved to rescind a similar waiver from LightSquared due to GPS interference issues.

 

Like LightSquared, Dish wants to be able to provide both the hybrid satellite-terrestrial receivers, as well as terrestrial-only to those who do not want the satellite function. "Allowing TerreStar and Dish to provide single-mode terrestrial terminals to customers who have no need for satellite functions will achieve significant public benefits, and will do so by better serving the important, underlying policy," Dish told the FCC in its application last August.

 

To read more click here.

 

Gigaom, FCC avoiding LightSquared mistakes with Dish, By Kevin Fitchard Mar. 5, 2012, 8:22am PT

 

Updated. The Federal Communications Commission on Friday denied Dish Network’s request to build a terrestrial LTE network over its satellite airwaves, but it didn’t kill the satellite broadcaster’s proposal outright. Instead the commission is kicking off a lengthy rule-making process that would eventually govern how satellite spectrum could be repurposed for ground-based networks. At the end of the process Dish may well get the waiver permission it needs to launch LTE, but it will have to wait – possibly as much as a year.

 

After dealing with the political agony of LightSquared for the last year, the FCC clearly is in no rush to re-air that soap opera with Dish. Dish’s S-band spectrum doesn’t have the GPS interference problems of LightSquared’s lower-frequency L-band airwaves, but it’s not exactly controversy-free either. AT&T and other operators claim that Dish’s 2 GHz frequencies could create interference problems for their mobile networks.

 

Rather than risk another political firestorm, the FCC is going to explore all of the interference issues of a full-bore LTE network in the satellite bands before it signs off on any new networks. It’s a cautious approach that could delay the launch of new competing mobile broadband networks, but perhaps it’s a step the FCC should have taken from the start.

 

Update. The FCC said that the approach it is taking to Dish is entirely different than that of LightSquared. Instead of considering a exception to the normal satellite use in the L-band as it did with LightSquared, the FCC wants to do away with satellite in the S-band entirely, converting it to a terrestrial-only band just like cellular or PCS. According to an FCC spokesperson:

 

Since the release of the National Broadband Plan two years ago, the Commission has been clear and consistent about its intent to remove regulatory barriers in this band through a rulemaking to unleash more spectrum for mobile broadband. In light of the unique characteristics of this spectrum band, including the possibility of converting it to full terrestrial use, and based on the record in this proceeding, the rulemaking process will best serve the public interest and maximize the long-term value of the spectrum for the American economy.

 

To read more click here.

 

Space News, Mon, 5 March, 2012, Pentagon Official’s Email Urged Colleagues To ‘Synch Up’ with GPS Lobby on LightSquared [Politico]

 

Mobile broadband startup LightSquared has some new ammunition for claims that it has received unfair treatment in the dispute over GPS interference from its ground-based network: The website Politico has obtained a 2010 email in which a U.S. Department of Defense official urges his colleagues to “synch up” with the GPS industry against LightSquared.

 

Politico says the email, leaked by a “spectrum expert close to the situation,” came as the Global Positioning System Industry Council was preparing to brief the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) on LightSquared’s proposed L-band wireless network.

 

“We need to synch up with them prior to them briefing NTIA to make sure we are in lock step,” the Defense Department official wrote in the email. “Especially since they are our allies.”

 

To read more click here.

 

Wireless Week, FCC Puts Dish LTE On Ice, By Maisie RamsayMonday, March 5, 2012

 

The FCC cleared Dish  Network's satellite spectrum acquisition Friday but put the company's wireless plans on the back burner, denying a waiver to use the airwaves for a land-based next-generation LTE-Advanced network.

 

The decision is a major setback for the company, which had pushed the agency to quickly grant it a waiver for flexible use of the satellite band so it could get its network running in time to keep pace with competitors like Verizon and AT&T.

 

"Unless DISH begins this development work now, it may not have a sufficiently developed S-Band ecosystem by the time the incumbent carriers complete their own transitions to LTE-Advanced," it said in documents filed with the FCC one day before the agency made its decision. "This delay will jeopardize DISH's ability to successfully enter the wireless market and would require us to consider other options"

 

The FCC says the regulatory barriers preventing Dish from using its 2 GHz satellite spectrum for LTE will be addressed through a  rulemaking proceeding, a time-consuming process that could severely delay Dish's work on its network.

 

"The commission has been clear about its intent to remove regulatory barriers in this band through a rulemaking," the FCC said in its decision. "The record in this proceeding does not provide a sufficient basis to depart from the intended rulemaking approach."

 

To read more click here.

 

Mobiledia, FCC Mulls Dish Network LTE, Slows Competition, BY MELISSA DANIELS | MON MAR 05, 2012 1:13 PM

 

Dish Network's plan to break into the wireless market is facing regulatory roadblocks, reducing the chance for a new carrier to enter the market in the near future.

 

After previously approving a Dish spectrum purchase, the Federal Communications Commission says it's now going to examine the potential for the satellite operator to launch a wireless network, instead of giving its approval outright. Dish wants to build an LTE-advanced network in a band of spectrum it acquired last year, worth around $3 billion.

 

At the heart of the FCC's discussions is whether Dish Network's wireless carrier is worth the resources at a time when spectrum is tightly held and carefully controlled. The skyrocketing popularity of smartphones and tablets is pushing the boundaries of what the wireless infrastructure can handle, causing carriers to scramble for airwaves and giving spectrum owners the chance to break into the wireless market.

 

The FCC's cautionary stance responds to these circumstances, but the potential denial of the satellite provider's plans could be a blow to developing competition in the mobile market, keeping a new network off the market for at least another year.

 

The FCC says it will take until the end of the year to decide whether to allow Dish's network, which will involve a public comment period that will likely feature statements from top industry players like Verizon and AT&T. Both carriers stated in the past a Dish network would interfere with existing services.

 

To read more click here.

 

The Register (UK), FCC denies DISH a fast-track waiver for grounded network, By Bill Ray, Posted in Telecoms, 5th March 2012 20:04 GMT

 

DISH Network has been refused an immediate waiver to let it build a ground network using its satellite frequencies, as the FCC wants to consult until after Obama is re-elected.

 

DISH was hoping to follow LightSquared's lead in building a terrestrial network operating in the frequencies formerly reserved for satellite communications, only DISH could do it without upsetting the GPS crowd as LightSquared has done. But now the FCC has decided it wants to consult on the issue, pushing any decision back to the end of the year and past the US presidential election.

 

The FCC did say that DISH can buy the 40MHz of spectrum, which is currently split between failed satellite-phone companies DBSD and TerreStar, but DISH failed to get approval to run a ground-based network in the bands or to build handsets (or other network devices) without the capability to receive a satellite signal.

 

During the company's earnings call last week, DISH Network's CEO put it bluntly: "If, by chance, we were not granted a waiver or it was kicked down the road without a decision through rulemaking, then I think that we'll have to consider the risk ... we may have to write down some of the DBSD, TerreStar assets because obviously, to the extent we couldn't use them, they probably wouldn't be worth the $3 billion or so that we paid for them."

 

Satellite operators are allowed to run limited ground-based networks, in the same bands, to fill in gaps in their coverage where there's no line of sight, or to push the signal into buildings. LightSquared's audacious plan (aped by DISH) was to turn that model around and use a single satellite to patch gaps in a terrestrial network, and, critically, LightSquared got an FCC waiver saying that devices did not have to be able to use the satellite at all.

 

To read more click here.

 

The Hill, LightSquared will make for a better connection, By Maine State Rep. Diane Russell, (D-Portland), 03/05/12 03:35 PM ET

 

As a progressive state legislator, it’s not every day that I find myself championing a conservative infrastructure investment model like the LightSquared project. However, my hometown was the last in the nation to use the crank phone (no...not the rotary dial). I may still get carded at the store, but I remember using the system. More than most, I recognize the economic consequences of being on the wrong side of the digital tracks.

 

While the federal government has been wasting trillions of dollars building nations abroad, our own infrastructure here at home has taken a hit, not the least of which is our broadband investment. It’s great that urban parts of the country have broadband Internet and reliable cell phone service; the rest of us do not and that hurts the entire American economy. Regardless of whether the investment is public or private, it needs to be made. LightSquared is investing billions in private money to deploy the most robust, reliable 4G mobile broadband system in the country.

 

The question is where have the Conservatives been up until now?

 

Oh wait... holding up the project.

 

For years, GPS device makers have poached into spectrum held by LightSquared; when the day of reckoning came, the GPS industry turned to its friends in Washington. With a lot of campaign money to its credit, the GPS industry helped conservative members of Congress denounce this private infrastructure investment and decry the regulations. And when I say decry the regulations, I mean decry the fact that an eleven-year process somehow wasn’t enough.

 

To read more click here.

 

Vision 2 Mobile, LIGHTSQUARED GRANTED EXTENSION TO COMMENT ON NTIA LETTER, FCC'S PROPOSALS, 3/5/2012, By Josh Long

 

The Federal Communications Commission recently granted LightSquared an extension of time to respond to the agency's public notice, which essentially proposes blocking the company from launching a wireless broadband network.

 

LightSquared now has until March 16 to comment on the FCC's proposals and a letter from another government agency concluding there's no practical way for LightSquared to mitigate harm to Global Positioning System devices while operating its network.

 

LightSquared told the FCC it needed more time to address information contained in a National Telecommunications and Information Administration letter and related exhibits; the information from NTIA -- the U.S. Department of Commerce agency that advises President Obama on telecommunications issues -- reportedly included more than 300 pages of technical analysis and test results.

 

The FCC agreed that granting an extension wouldn't cause any prejudice; the deadline for reply comments is now March 30.

 

LightSquared recently announced that its top executive, Sanjiv Ahuja, had resigned and that the company was searching for a new CEO.

 

To read more click here.

 

Washington Business Journal Online, FCC deals setback to Dish Network's wireless network plans, Staff, 137 words, 5 March 2012

 

Dish Network Corp.'s hopes to start building a new wireless network have been dealt a setback by the Federal Communications Commission, which denied the satellite-TV provider's request for a needed waiver and opted instead for a formal deliberation that will take until the end of the year, The Wall Street Journal reported.

 

The decision to take a more deliberate approach comes after the commission came under fire for acting too quickly in the controversial LightSquared Inc. case, in which the commission granted a waiver to the Reston-based startup and later saw its plan unravel.

 

To read more click here.

 

PR Newswire, PRESS RELEASE, March 6, 2012, 2:07 a.m. EST, Inmarsat plc Reports Preliminary Full Year Results 2011

 

LONDON, March 6, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Inmarsat plc , the leading provider of global mobile satellite communications services, today reported consolidated preliminary financial results for the year ended 31 December 2011.

 

Inmarsat plc - Full Year 2011 Highlights

 

• Total revenue $1,409m up 20% (2010:$1)(2010:172m)

 

• EBITDA $854m up 23% (2010:$696m)

 

• Profit before tax $367m up 10% (2010:$334m)

 

• Strong growth in FleetBroadband ARPUs

 

• IsatPhone Pro subscribers exceed 50,000 to date

 

• Final dividend of 24.96 cents US$ up 10%

 

• $270m of cash returned to shareholders

 

Inmarsat Group Limited - Fourth Quarter 2011 Highlights

 

• Total revenue $362m up 24% (2010:$292m)

 

• Total Inmarsat Global MSS revenue$241m up 23%(2010:$195m)

 

• EBITDA $203m up 18% (2010:$172m)

 

Rupert Pearce, Chief Executive Officer, said, "We are pleased with the progress we are making in MSS subscriber growth and in the development of our next generation Global Xpress satellite services. As a result, we are confident in both the on-going cash flow generation in our core MSS business and in the potential for significantly renewed revenue growth once our Global Xpress services become available from late next year. We expect our 2012 revenue growth trends in our core MSS business to improve on 2011."

 

To read more click here.

 

Bloomberg, Inmarsat Can’t Predict Payments From LightSquared Following Discussions, By Chiara Remondini, Mar 6, 2012 6:45 AM ET

 

Inmarsat Plc (ISAT), the biggest provider of satellite services to the maritime industry, said it’s in talks with customer LightSquared Inc. (SKYT) and can’t predict whether it will receive outstanding payments.

 

While the companies are talking, “investors should take a very conservative stance on payments being received,” Chief Executive Officer Rupert Pearce said on a conference call today. LightSquared’s business model faces “significant uncertainty” because of U.S. regulatory developments, London-based Inmarsat said in a statement.

 

Philip Falcone’s LightSquared, the U.S. company struggling to gain approval for a wireless service, failed to pay Inmarsat $56.3 million last month after making payments to the British company in line with contractual milestones. Inmarsat said today it “cannot provide any assurance that the outstanding payment or further payments” in relation to a spectrum-cooperation agreement with LightSquared will be received.

 

Inmarsat issued a notice of default, giving LightSquared 60 days to remedy the issue, it said Feb. 20. LightSquared said in a statement at the time that Inmarsat must fulfil certain obligations tied to the deployment of its terrestrial and satellite network and that “several matters” need to be resolved. It didn’t give more details.

 

Revenue from LightSquared was “the primary driver” of overall sales growth for 2011, Inmarsat said today. Full-year sales at the satellite operator jumped 20 percent to $1.41 billion. Revenue from other income, which includes LightSquared, soared to $238.1 million from $37.1 million.

 

To read more click here.

 

Reuters, UPDATE 2-Inmarsat sees shipping driving slow recovery, Tue Mar 6, 2012 5:26am EST, By Paul Sandle

 

* Year revenue up 20 pct to $1.41 bln, vs I/B/E/S poll $1.40 bln

 

* Year EBITDA up 23 pct to $854 mln, vs I/B/E/S poll $861 mln

 

* Expects 2012 growth trends in core MSS business to improve

 

* Shares down 1 percent

 

LONDON, March 6 (Reuters) - British satellite communications group Inmarsat predicted a return to revenue growth in its core services business this year, with rising demand from shipping customers offset by less military activity in Libya and Afghanistan.

 

Inmarsat, whose terminals are deployed on ships, aircraft and in remote locations worldwide, said on Tuesday revenue from satellite services would be flat to up 2 percent this year, against a 0.9 percent decline in 2011.

 

Inmarsat has suffered a slowdown in revenue from shipping as users switch to its next-generation broadband terminals. Sailors use the devices to send email and update Facebook rather than make costly voice calls.

 

Finance director Rick Medlock said activations of the new terminals were strong, with 9,818 added in 2011, and average revenue per user (ARPU) was rising as people spent more time on the devices.

 

"We see good growth characteristics in maritime - ARPUs are increasing on fleet broadband, plus terminal activations," he said.

 

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