Thursday, July 07, 2011

FCC Establishes Comment Deadlines Re GPS Lightsquared Report

  • Comments Due:  07/30/2011. Reply Comments Due:  08/15/2011. Comments may be filed electronically using the Internet by accessing the ECFS.
  • "On June 30, 2011, LightSquared Subsidiary LLC (LightSquared) submitted a final report of the technical working group co-chaired by LightSquared and the United States Global Positioning System (GPS) Industry Council (USGIC)1 and organized in response to a condition in FCC Order and Authorization, DA 11-133 (released January 26, 2011).2 The condition required that LightSquared help organize and participate in a technical working group “that brings LightSquared and the GPS community together” to address potential interference issues recently raised by members of the GPS community.3 The Order “envision[ed] a working group in which cooperative and candid discussions can ensue, and where information, including proprietary information, can be shared among the participants with appropriate measures in place to protect the confidentiality of that information.”4 The condition required submission of a final report that includes the working group’s analyses of the potential for overload interference to GPS devices from LightSquared’s terrestrial network of base stations, technical and operational steps to avoid any such interference, and specific recommendations going forward to mitigate potential interference to GPS devices. Among other things,5 the Order also made clear that, “as a condition of granting this waiver, the [working group] process . . . addressing the interference concerns regarding GPS must be completed to the Commission’s satisfaction before LightSquared commences offering commercial service pursuant to this waiver on its L-band MSS frequencies.”"

    The technical working group effort identified significant technical issues related to potential LightSquared operations in the upper portion of the L-Band, which is most proximate to the band used by GPS. Over more than three months, the technical working group tested more than 130 representative devices in seven different receiver categories, in a number of different test environments. The tests demonstrated potentially significant interference between LightSquared operations in the upper portion of the band and various GPS receivers. The tests also identified some interference issues in the lower 10 MHz portion of the band. The overall conclusion of the testing is that transmissions in the upper 10 MHz channel —the channel nearest to the 1559-1610 MHz GPS band — will adversely affect the performance of a significant number of legacy GPS receivers.

    In addition to the technical working group report, LightSquared has submitted its recommendations to address the problems identified by the working group.7 In particular, LightSquared indicates its willingness to: (1) operate at lower power than permitted by its existing FCC authorization; (2) agree to a “standstill” in the terrestrial use of its Upper 10 MHz frequencies immediately adjacent to the GPS band; and (3) commence terrestrial commercial operations only on the lower 10 MHz portion of its spectrum and to coordinate and share the cost of underwriting a workable solution for the small number of legacy precision measurement devices that may be at risk. We specifically invite comment on these recommendations, including any alternative proposals to enable these two important services – GPS devices and L-band mobile broadband – to co-exist. We also welcome comments on the technical working group report generally. Comments should be filed no later than July 30, 2011, and reply comments by August 15, 2011.
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