FCC Moves to Block LightSquared’s Network

Based on conclusions by the National Telecommunications Information Administration, the Federal Communications Commission moved on Feb. 14 to block LightSquared’s planned nationwide wireless network.

Published: February 15, 2012
Updated: February 15, 2012

Based on conclusions by the National Telecommunications Information Administration (NTIA), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) moved on February 14 to block LightSquared's planned nationwide wireless network.

In its statement, the FCC said: "NTIA has now concluded that there is no practical way to mitigate potential interference at this time. Consequently, the Commission will not lift the prohibition on LightSquared. The International Bureau is proposing to (1) vacate the Conditional Waiver Order, and (2) suspend indefinitely LightSquared's Ancillary Terrestrial Component authority to an extent consistent with the NTIA letter."

In January 2011, LightSquared had been granted a conditional waiver by the FCC that would have allowed for their dramatic expansion of terrestrial use of the mobile satellite spectrum (MSS) immediately adjacent to the frequency band used by GPS receivers. Over the past year, GPS user groups -- from the aviation industry to agriculture -- repeatedly petitioned the FCC and Congress to rescind the waiver and block LightSquared's expansion due to concerns about interference with GPS devices. The NTIA finally agreed with GPS stakeholders, concluding that LightSquared's proposed use of the spectrum cannot be remediated sufficiently to allow its coexistence with GPS use of the spectrum, and so their plan should not proceed.

The FCC has the final word on whether LightSquared can go forward, unless the company decides to take the issue to court.