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LightSquared: Commercial GPS Has No Right to Interference Protection

LightSquared appears to have tired of the "can't we all live together" approach to its GPS industry critics and dropped the gloves.

The company filed a petition with the FCC Tuesday asking for a declaratory ruling that that commercial GPS manufacturers "have no right to interference protection from LightSquared's network since they are not licensed users of that spectrum," and that LightSquared does have the right to use its spectrum.

It wants to use it for a terrestrial wireless broadband service, which required an FCC waiver since its spectrum is licensed for satellite use. The FCC issued that waiver, conditioned on the service not interfering with GPS.

"The one inescapable conclusion from two rounds of independent testing is that the incompatibility problem is not caused by LightSquared's network," said Jeff Carlisle, LightSquared's executive VP for regulatory affairs and public policy, 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."

LighSquared has modified its service proposal to lower power and move further away from the adjacent GPS band, at least at the outset. But it has also repeatedly made the point that the interference problem is with sensitive GPS devices sensing in-band transmissions, not with LightSquared transmissions straying out of band.

LightSquared says the problem is that GPS manufacturers "designed and sold unlicensed devices that use spectrum licensed to LightSquared and its predecessor companies."

"This latest filing simply recycles the litany of inaccurate and self-serving claims that LightSquared has made in its ongoing effort to deny its obligation to avoid harmful interference to millions of government and private GPS users," said Jim Kirkland, VP and General Counsel of Trimble, a founding member of the Coalition to Save Our GPS. "In its January 2011 order, the Commission made clear that LightSquared would not be permitted to commence operations until it had demonstrated that it would not interfere with GPS. LightSquared did not challenge this condition at the time, and has to live up to it."