On Monday CCIA filed Reply Comments with the FCC in support of LightSquared’s proposal to begin deployment of its nationwide wholesale 4G LTE network. LightSquared’s wholesale wireless network, once deployed, would expand high-speed broadband access to millions of unserved Americans, make an additional 40 MHz of wireless spectrum available for mobile broadband, spur economic growth and job creation, and increase competition in the wireless marketplace.
Until this summer, LightSquared and the GPS industry had worked together to solve interference problems with GPS receivers that failed to filter out LightSquared’s transmissions within its licensed spectrum.
In June LightSquared proposed that it begin deployment of its network on the portion of its network that GPS receivers have little trouble filtering transmissions from, and at the same time work with the Commission, the GPS industry, and other stakeholders to resolve the interference problems on the rest of LightSquared’s spectrum. LightSquared’s plan is the same as one proposed by the GPS industry less than a year go.
Unfortunately, according to their recent FCC filings, the GPS community is no longer interested in working with LightSquared to solve these interference problems. In fact, the GPS industry has even suggested LightSquared vacate its licensed spectrum.
CCIA supports the deployment of LightSquared’s network, but acknowledges that there are interference issues with legacy GPS receivers that need to be resolved. Thus, CCIA supports LightSquared’s proposal to begin deployment on a portion of its network while working with the FCC, the GPS community, and other stakeholders to resolve interference problems.
LightSquared’s proposal is a good faith effort to reach a collaborative solution on GPS interference issues that will not unfairly overburden any individual stakeholder and would resolve the interference issues that are preventing LightSquared from deploying its network.
Once deployed, LightSquared’s network will achieve many of the Commission’s goals. First, LightSquared’s network will help deliver broadband access to millions of currently userved or underserved Americans in rural areas. Second, LightSquared’s deployment will make an additional 40 MHz of wireless spectrum available for mobile broadband – a key to the Commission achieving the goals of the National Broadband Plan.
Delivery of broadband services to unserved areas and freeing up additional spectrum for broadband use will have the added benefit of spurring economic growth and job creation – both within the wireless market and sub-markets, but also by creating opportunities for rural areas to attract businesses and for those businesses to sell goods and services over the Internet to global markets. LightSquared’s network will help close the digital divide and buildout America’s wireless infrastructure, which in turn will reinvigorate economic growth in rural America.
Finally, LightSquared’s network has the potential to strengthen competition in the wireless sector. Recently the wireless market has begun to drift toward the formation of an AT&T/Verizon duopoly. LightSquared’s wholesale network model could offer competitive benefits to small carriers – regional and rural carriers could potentially supply nationwide voice and data roaming to their customers, give customers a choice of the latest smartphones, and offer 4G speeds while not having to incur costs to build out their networks, procure spectrum, and buy roaming services from their retail competitors.
CCIA supports LightSquared’s efforts and encourages the Commission to work with LightSquared, the GPS community, and other stakeholders to solve any remaining issues that delay the network’s deployment.