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FCC says GPS stakeholders need to help free up mobile broadband spectrum

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The FCC has published a letter officially declining to let LightSquared proceed with its mobile broadband network because there is "no practical way to mitigate potential interference" with GPS. However, the Commission also said that GPS stakeholders needed to work with government agencies to help free up mobile broadband spectrum.

GPS Phone
GPS Phone

As we heard yesterday, the FCC has rejected LightSquared's application for a mobile broadband network on grounds that it would interfere with GPS receivers. However, the Commission also implied that GPS technology is partially to blame for the rejection. In a letter posted today (PDF), FCC spokesperson Tammy Sun said that the proposal had "revealed challenges to removing regulatory barriers on spectrum that restrict use of that spectrum for mobile broadband. This includes receivers that pick up signals from spectrum uses in neighboring bands." Government agencies and public stakeholders, she said, must work together to "free up spectrum for mobile broadband."

This statement corroborates LightSquared's previous claims that GPS devices go outside their allotted bandwidth, resulting in interference with mobile networks. Even so, the company still isn't in the clear. Following the NTIA's proposal, the FCC has stated that "there is no practical way to mitigate potential interference at this time," and is declining to lift the prohibition on the LightSquared network. Tomorrow, the FCC will post a notice seeking public comment on the matter.