By Jeff Carlisle, Executive Vice President for Regulatory Affairs and Public Policy
August 25, 2011
More and more Americans are getting excited about LightSquared’s nationwide broadband wireless network. In recent weeks, hundreds of elected officials, public safety officers and community leaders have written to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to support the effort to find a technical solution that will allow LightSquared to move forward with our 4G-LTE network. As one recent article reported, more people are understanding what’s at stake for America – and that LightSquared presents a real solution, not just a concept, for providing affordable, world-class wireless broadband.
The growing support for LightSquared comes amid increased reporting that the GPS interference issue stems from GPS receivers improperly using the LightSquared spectrum – although the industry has had years to adjust its receivers to meet government standards and to stop squatting in spectrum that it is not assigned, as we described in a letter to the FCC.
Policy experts are questioning the wisdom of allowing GPS companies to stop the launch of our network – in effect granting veto power to the user of an adjoining spectrum. As this article points out, such a veto would set a dangerous precedent and reduce the future value of spectrum that the U.S. government is preparing to auction. It also would discourage other broadband wireless providers from investing the time and capital necessary to launch a nationwide network.
LightSquared’s mission is to fulfill an essential need of the American people: expanded and improved broadband wireless capacity. That’s why we’ve spent 10 years working with the FCC and other companies to prepare the L-band – the section of the airwaves in which LightSquared is licensed to operate – to support a world-class nationwide wireless broadband network able to reach the entire country.
We’re prepared to invest $14 billion to build this network using 4G-LTE technology integrated with satellite coverage, bringing best-in-class wireless broadband to more than 260 million Americans while generating thousands of jobs over the next five years. As a wholesale provider, we’ll enable a slew of wireless service providers to offer lightning-fast speeds to more customers, or in some cases, to enter the market as new competitors – a paradigm shift in the U.S. wireless industry that promises lower prices, more competition and expanded capacity at a time when it is sorely needed.
The only remaining hurdle is the continued refusal of some GPS companies to help solve interference issues for the tiny fraction of GPS devices that would experience interference under our proposal to operate only in the part of our spectrum farthest from the GPS airwaves.
The American people own the airwaves – not the GPS companies or, for that matter, LightSquared; we’re merely granted a license to use a certain portion of the airwaves for specific uses. Those uses should provide maximum benefit to the American people. America needs both GPS and greatly expanded and improved broadband wireless. LightSquared has taken steps to prepare our spectrum for a new nationwide network that more and more Americans vocally support. We only ask our neighbors in the GPS spectrum to operate their devices in accordance with the needs of the American people who own the airwaves they use.
We’re confident that the FCC and Congress will work toward a solution that is in the best interest of the American people.
Jeff Carlisle serves as LightSquared’s executive vice president for regulatory affairs and public policy. Carlisle, who previously served as vice president of regulatory affairs for SkyTerra, is responsible for all domestic and international regulatory and policy matters including those at the FCC, Congress, the Executive Branch, the ITU and in foreign markets.