Ina Fried

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LightSquared Asks FCC to Declare GPS Interference Not Its Fault

Aspiring wholesale wireless provider LightSquared wants the Federal Communications Commission to declare that any interference between its network and GPS systems is the fault of the way those systems are designed.

LightSquared aims to build a 4G network, and to offer that network to other companies on a wholesale basis. Among the hurdles it faces are complaints that such a network will interfere with millions of GPS systems already on the market. In a petition filed on Tuesday, LightSquared reiterated its position that the problem is that GPS systems “look into” the spectrum that has been licensed to LightSquared.

“The one inescapable conclusion from two rounds of independent testing is that the incompatibility problem is not caused by LightSquared’s network,” LightSquared Executive Vice President Jeff Carlisle said in a statement. “It is clear that GPS devices are purposefully designed to look into LightSquared’s licensed spectrum, and given this evidence, we believe decision-makers should consider LightSquared’s legal rights as the licensee.”

Even though it is asking the FCC to rule that it is the proper licensee of the spectrum in question, LightSquared said it still wants to work with the GPS industry to minimize potential problems. LightSquared has maintained that navigation-system makers can design systems that filter out any potential interference from devices that would run on its network.

“While we ask the FCC today to confirm our legal rights, LightSquared remains fully committed to cooperate with all parties — the GPS industry, GPS users, and the federal government — to ensure that LightSquared’s network is deployed in a way that is compatible with GPS users,” said Carlisle. “LightSquared has always recognized the critical importance of the GPS system, and we firmly believe that GPS devices can peacefully co-exist adjacent to our network.”

The GPS issue isn’t the only one facing the company. Reuters reported this week that LightSquared also faces a potential cash crunch. A company representative did not confirm or deny the authenticity of the data in the Reuters report, but told AllThingsD that LightSquared has enough cash for the next several quarters.


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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work