updated 01:05 pm EST, Mon January 30, 2012
FCC asks for input on LightSquared call
The FCC on Monday began taking public comments on a LightSquared request to drop shelters protecting GPS from interference from the would-be provider's LTE network. Following LightSquared's accusations of bias, the FCC has put out a notice that will see it compile commentary by February 27 and responses to those comments by March 13. LightSquared executive VP Jeff Carlisle told Bloomberg that he was "extremely pleased" with the move.
LightSquared is currently faced with the threat that billions of dollars of investment might be scrapped after the FCC determined that its future 4G would likely interfere with GPS mapping devices. In opposition, the newcomer has insisted that it's GPS which has been playing loose with frequency access while its LTE has behaved properly. It has gone so far as to propose a fix that it believes would be relatively easy versus attempts to tweak LightSquared.
Any hopes of FCC approval are now part of a race against time. Although not certain, the company may be out of funds by spring. Sprint has been edging away from support itself despite committing to a multi-billion dollar deal.
If successful, LightSquared would serve as the backbone for many smaller carriers. It could potentially improve competition in established cities and provide high-speed Internet access in rural areas where major carriers often don't believe they can justify service.