LightSquared: GPS not entitled to special protection


"It recently has become apparent that the commercial GPS industry has manufactured, and sold to unsuspecting consumers, unlicensed and poorly designed GPS receivers that 'listen' for radio signals both" from the GPS band and LightSquared's band, the company wrote in its filing.

LightSquared asked the FCC to declare that GPS companies are not entitled to special protection from interference outside of their licensed airwaves.

They also urged the agency to declare that the GPS industry should pay to retrofit receivers so they are not disrupted by LightSquared's signal.

"These issues must be resolved in order to clear up any misperceptions in the marketplace about the scope of LightSquared’s authority to deploy its network in all of its licensed spectrum," the company wrote.

LightSquared has become embroiled in political controversy in recent months. 

Republicans have questioned whether the company has benefited from ties to the White House and the Democratic Party, and suggest the company could become a scandal similar to failed solar panel firm Solyndra. Rep. Michael Turner (R-Ohio) called for an investigation after the White House reportedly asked an Air Force general to change his congressional testimony to make it more supportive of LightSquared.

In September, Rep. Michele BachmannMichele Marie BachmannGillibrand becomes latest candidate scrutinized for how she eats on campaign trail Trump will give State of Union to sea of opponents Yes, condemn Roseanne, but ignoring others is true hypocrisy MORE (R-Minn.) accused President Obama of "crony capitalism" for allegedly giving favor to his political supporters, pointing to LightSquared's primary investor, Philip Falcone.

Falcone, who has donated thousands of dollars to both Democrats and Republicans in recent years, says he is a registered Republican and has denied any attempts to influence the process through political connections.

Sen. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyTreasury expands penalty relief to more taxpayers Overnight Health Care: Senators seek CBO input on preventing surprise medical bills | Oversight panel seeks OxyContin documents | Pharmacy middlemen to testify on prices | Watchdog warns air ambulances can put patients at 'financial risk' Drug prices are a matter of life and death MORE (R-Iowa) has pledged to block Obama's two nominees to serve on the FCC's five-member board unless the agency releases internal documents related to its review of the wireless company.

White House and FCC officials say LightSquared has not received any special treatment, and the FCC emphasizes that the firm will only receive authorization to launch its network if it can demonstrate it does not harm GPS.  

“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," Jim Kirkland, general counsel for GPS company Trimble, said in a statement. 

He argued LightSquared only has the right to operate satellite signals in its spectrum bands, not the powerful cell towers that disrupt GPS devices.

He noted the FCC only granted LightSquared the authority to use cell towers if it could prove they would not disrupt GPS devices.

"Given this basic framework, the suggestion that GPS manufacturers should have designed their equipment to accommodate a prohibited spectrum use is completely meritless," he said.