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GPS Group Wants FCC to Restrict LightSquared Spectrum

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A group representing the GPS industry asked the Federal Communications Commission Tuesday to restrict the proposed LightSquared wireless network from using the upper band of its licensed spectrum.

In a letter to the FCC, the Coalition to Save Our GPS asked the agency to prevent LightSquared from using frequencies near the band used by GPS.

PC World reports previous tests have shown strong interference in the upper 10MHz band of LightSquared’s frequencies, which LightSquared desires to use. LightSquared has said it would initially operate only in the lower band.

Uncertainty over how the upper band would be used is hurting efforts in making decisions on how to deal with the lower block, the GPS advocacy group said.

“Without FCC action stating that LightSquared may not use its upper 10 MHz of (spectrum) in its densely deployed terrestrial network, affected users may be required to go through a time-consuming and highly disruptive transition process to accommodate LightSquared’s lower band operations,” the letter says, adding LightSquared would later “expend significant resources on another round of upper band testing a few years from now.”

LightSquared has previously said a network operating in the lower band would only affect high-precision GPS receivers and filters already in existence can solve the problem. LightSquared has also said GPS vendors should pay to retrofit their receivers.

“Now the industry is demanding that the government formally expropriate part of LightSquared’s spectrum — worth billions of dollars — and turn it over to the GPS industry in perpetuity,” LightSquared said in a statement. “Today’s filing is little more than a land grab designed to reward spectrum squatters who have failed to innovate their technology.”

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