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LightSquared Asks for More Time to Contest FCC Action on GPS Interference

February 24, 2012

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Charging the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) with a “rush to judgment,” LightSquared Inc. is seeking an extension of more than a month to comment on the FCC’s intention to prohibit the company from building a high-powered wireless broadband network in RF spectrum next to GPS and other GNSS services.

In a motion filed February 23, Jeffrey Carlisle, LightSquared’s executive vice-president for regulatory affairs and public policy, asked that it have until March 30 to reply to FCC plans to vacate a January 2011 conditional waiver order and rescind its 2004 authorization permitting the company to build an ancillary terrestrial component (ATC) made up entirely of high-powered ground-based transmitters.

The FCC notice issued on February 15 established a March 1 deadline for comment.

Carlisle argued that it needed more time to evaluate technical documentation on which the FCC and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) had based their conclusion that “no practical way” exists to mitigate LightSquared’s potential interference to GPS.

Carlisle said a January 14 letter to the FCC from NTIA chief Lawrence Strickling and accompanying exhibits “total more than 300 pages, consisting of highly-technical analyses, predictions, and test parameters and results.” He said LightSquared needed more time to consult with technical experts to evaluate the letter’s contentions and draft a response.

“The proposed rush to judgment in the Public Notice to effectively rescind not only the Conditional Waiver Order but also LightSquared’s underlying ATC authorization is inappropriate and unprecedented,” Carlisle said. “Fundamental considerations of fair notice and proper administrative process require that LightSquared and other commenters be given adequate time to respond to the NTIA materials and the Bureau’s proposed actions.”

A statement filed today (February 24, 2012) by the Coalition to Save Our GPS opposed the motion to extend the comment period, arguing that “LightSquared’s contention that it needs additional time to review these reports rings hollow.”

In the statement, Paul Scolese, a Washington, D.C., attorney representing the GPS group, said that notwithstanding “the futility of giving LightSquared yet more time to defend its indefensible proposal,” the coalition would “would not oppose an extension of at most 10 calendar days.”

“LightSquared already had the opportunity to review a large portion of the materials,” he argued. “Moreover, LightSquared has had over a year to satisfy the conditions placed on its proposed operations” by the FCC International Bureau’s original order and authorization.

Copyright © 2012 Gibbons Media & Research LLC, all rights reserved.

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