Coalition Tells FCC LightSquared’s Conditional Authorization Must Be Revoked

LightSquared failed to meet the terms of the conditional waiver to which it agreed; LightSquared gambled and lost

Washington, D.C. – The Coalition to Save Our GPS will later today file reply comments in response to an FCC International Bureau’s public notice proposing to rescind LightSquared’s conditional waiver and prohibit the company from repurposing its mobile satellite spectrum because it has not met the Bureau’s condition requiring demonstration of non-interference with GPS.

Referring to the Coalition’s filing, which is being joined by Trimble and Garmin, Jim Kirkland, vice president and general counsel of Trimble, a founding member of the Coalition to Save Our GPS, said:

“Try as it might, LightSquared cannot hide the fact that the International Bureau’s Conditional Waiver Order in January 2011 was crystal clear that LightSquared was required to demonstrate non-interference to GPS, or it would not be permitted to move forward. This condition reflected the FCC’s consistent policy that operations in LightSquared’s mobile satellite spectrum were not permitted to interfere with GPS. LightSquared has failed to satisfy the condition it accepted in January 2011 and the Bureau now has only one permissible action that it can take, which is to rescind the waiver. All of LightSquared’s arguments at this point amount to nothing more than requests for changes in the rules after the game is over, or requests for special treatment to avoid the consequences of its ill-conceived plans. There is simply no legal or other basis for any of LightSquared’s claims.”

A sampling of some of the comments that will be filed later today follows:
• “The issue before the FCC’s International Bureau (the ‘Bureau’) is narrow – whether LightSquared Subsidiary LLC (‘LightSquared’) has satisfied the condition in the Conditional Waiver Order, to which LightSquared acquiesced. The overwhelming evidence demonstrates that LightSquared has not satisfied the condition requiring that it demonstrate that it will not cause harmful interference to Global Positioning System (‘GPS’) receivers. Therefore, LightSquared’s conditional authorization must be revoked by the terms of the Conditional Waiver Order to which it agreed. All of LightSquared’s arguments essentially try to cloud this inescapable conclusion and raise issues that are not relevant to the Bureau’s determination.”

• “LightSquared, and the relatively few parties that submitted comments supporting LightSquared, argues against the Bureau’s proposed action by relying on the faulty premise, endlessly repeated by LightSquared, that it always had authority to operate a nationwide terrestrial network in the L-Band Mobile Satellite Service (‘MSS’) spectrum adjacent to the band used for GPS. This is simply not the case and continued repetition will not make it so. Statements made in the National Broadband Plan, past Commission decisions, the Conditional Waiver Order, and the recent 2 GHz MSS proceeding unequivocally demonstrate that the Commission never authorized ubiquitous, stand-alone terrestrial operations and services in the L-Band. In fact, it expressly prohibited them until the Bureau entertained the possibility of allowing such operations when it issued the Conditional Waiver Order.”

• “LightSquared’s interpretation of the test results is contradicted by nearly every other commenting party and the extensive technical record. Over a year after issuance of the Conditional Waiver Order, no credible, independent party has come forward to support LightSquared’s technical claims that its proposed operations will not cause harmful interference to millions of existing GPS receivers used for critical purposes every day. Given the plethora of parties that have come out in support of additional broadband services and competition, which are laudable goals, the absence of any independent technical support for LightSquared on the critical issue of interference to existing GPS receivers, the subject of the Bureau’s condition to commencing operations, speaks volumes. Indeed, all testing conclusively shows that LightSquared’s proposed terrestrial operations will cause harmful interference to GPS and that mitigation is not possible at this time.”

• “Besides determining whether LightSquared has met the non-interference condition and taking any other actions necessary to prevent LightSquared from causing harmful interference to GPS, the Commission has no further obligation to LightSquared. LightSquared took a gamble that it could convert its MSS spectrum to terrestrial use and lost that gamble. The Commission is not responsible for rescuing LightSquared from its failure to meet the Bureau’s explicit condition.”

The comments, as filed, can be seen here: