As Washington debates ways to address the growing demand for broadband spectrum, an innovative company has an out of this world solution – if only it can overcome objections from other licensees to get the technology to market. Today the Computer & Communications Industry Association called on the FCC to help seek a win-win spectrum solution that resolves interference concerns between LightSquared and the Global Positioning Systems (GPS) community.
Wireless broadband is vitally important to U.S. competitiveness in the 21st Century, and the Obama administration has set a broadband buildout goal of 98 percent of the country. The FCC is wisely advancing spectrum initiatives for mobile broadband such as “white spaces” and auctioning of unused broadcast frequencies voluntarily surrendered. But more is needed and Lightsquared could help ease the shortage of terrestrial spectrum through an integrated satellite/terrestrial 4G service using one of the largest commercial space satellites that could cover the entire US.
LightSquared filed a full report with the FCC Thursday updating the government on the progress of a technical working group. The company has been refining the engineering of its proposed L-Band satellite network for over a year now, and has made substantial changes to accommodate the concerns of other spectrum users. The FCC is expected to ask for public comment on the new plan and the prospect of a new wholesale capacity supplier for mobile broadband.
Many members of the CCIA, including LightSquared, and the general public, will benefit from the FCC approving acceptable ways to for this company to be able to join the effort to provide broadband services throughout the US.
While the FCC has been supportive of the idea, the GPS industry has been lobbying against this initiative because of concerns this new use could interfere with the frequencies it uses to transmit data. CCIA, which has long supported both expanding broadband deployment as well as competition policy that allows innovative new entrants to make it to market, is asking the FCC to step in.
The following statement can be attributed to CCIA President & CEO Ed Black:
“Additional broadband deployment not only gives more people 21st Century mobile broadband Internet access, the additional capacity boosts competition which will help make that access more affordable for more Americans. In these economic times we can’t afford to pay more for basic services – and we can’t afford to allow legacy spectrum users to block new services unnecessarily — provided that technical solutions mitigating potential electromagnetic interference can be found.
“It is in the public interest for the FCC to insist the GPS community make a good faith effort to work with together with stakeholder government agencies and LightSquared toward a compromise that’s acceptable to all. That may involve shifts in frequency use, time horizons and/or phasing out old equipment.
“CCIA is confident that if there is a will to work something out, there is a technical way forward to be followed. A solution would allow this advanced spectrum technology to be implemented, competition to thrive, thousands of jobs to be created and GPS location data services to be protected at the same time.”