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LightSquared Hires Lawyers To Prep For GPS Battle 195

Posted by samzenpus
from the court-time dept.
itwbennett writes "Following Tuesday's FCC ruling saying that the company's LTE network interferes with GPS, LightSquared's primary investor Philip Falcone is looking to sue the FCC and the GPS industry. Alternately, Falcone is considering ways to appeal the FCC's decision or even swap spectrum with the Department of Defense."
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LightSquared Hires Lawyers To Prep For GPS Battle

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  • Oh come on. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 20, 2012 @09:23AM (#39098671)

    This is the 4th or 5th story I have read about LightSquared and so far the only thing I know about them is that their shit messes up GPS.

  • by Viol8 (599362) on Monday February 20, 2012 @09:35AM (#39098727)

    Their for-profit system screws up GPS which has been around a LOT longer than they have , the FCC finds this and blocks their system and THEY want to sue the FCC and GPS makers???

    I'm sorry, is this Falcone guy just gold plated arrogant ass who thinks the world should revolve around him, or is he just a plain, good old grade A fsckwit?

  • by alanshot (541117) <rurick@@@techondemand...net> on Monday February 20, 2012 @09:38AM (#39098739)

    FTA: "...Through a lawsuit, the company might seek to force GPS vendors to make their receivers filter out LightSquared's frequencies, the Journal said..."

    Seriously? I would love to hear from this idiot how he proposes to do this for existing units. Horses, barn doors, yadda yadda... I'm no EE/RF guy, but I'm sure its a bit more than simple software patches to the units. And I'll be DAMNED if I have to go buy another unit just because "his" part of the spectrum isnt quite up to par with what he wants to do with it.

    Somebody needs a good cockpunch to remind him that while its often disappointing that you cant achieve your goal due to outside forces, sometimes those forces are just plain beyond your control and you need to move on instead of lawyering up and being a dickhead about it.

  • Re:Oh come on. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by msauve (701917) on Monday February 20, 2012 @09:53AM (#39098831)
    You haven't been following the story very closely, since you obviously don't know that Lightsquared got their original approval on a fast track basis [orbitrax.com], with very little review time, and across a holiday weekend. They knew full-well that their intended use couldn't stand up to any serious scrutiny. If you think that just happened, without their pushing very hard through back channels, you really don't know how the FCC works. Lightsquared have only themselves to blame for trying to short-cut the process, and expecting political pressure to win out over technical facts (although that last one is often a good bet to make).
  • by Lehk228 (705449) on Monday February 20, 2012 @10:10AM (#39098953) Journal
    FCC doesn't owe LS investors jack shit. FCC auctions satellite spectrum, LS asked if they could try out magic equipment that could safely xmit from the ground without affecting existing users, It's not the FCC's job to explain physics to moron capitalists, that would actually be quite unfair for the FCC to decide in advance what is and is not possible and prohibit companies from trying "impossible" things
  • by vlm (69642) on Monday February 20, 2012 @10:11AM (#39098959)

    FYI, it's the GPS fault for making the presumption that the adjacent spectrum would always be quiet. With this ruling the FCC admits that the GPS receivers are in violation of their license.

    LOL the adjacent spectrum was legally declared to be for satellite based transmission (air to ground) only by the FCC. You have it about as backwards as possible.

    Standard /. car analogy would be we drive on the right in the US, Ford want to sell a UK drive on the left car in the US, DOT says ha ha go away, now you want to sue all other car manufacturers for assuming we'd always have right-side-drive in the US therefore they are the problem and if we just allowed people to randomly select whichever side of the road we preferred at that moment using cars where the driver and passenger dashboard can be instantly swapped, then it would all be good in the world.

  • by bws111 (1216812) on Monday February 20, 2012 @10:13AM (#39098965)

    Would you quit posting this bullshit! They did not 'make a presumption' that the adjacent spectrum would be quiet, there were (and are) regulations saying that the adjacent spectrum IS quiet. And, once again, receivers (of any sort) ARE NOT LICENSED.

  • by splutty (43475) on Monday February 20, 2012 @10:14AM (#39098977)

    There's a reason why this spectrum is much cheaper than others, in that it's assigned to satellite communication.

    The assumption being made is that if you license this spectrum, you need to make significant costs to actually put satellites into space, so the licensing is cheaper.

    So they want both now (cake meme), cheap spectrum, but not put satellites into orbit (which their original proposal by the way *did* have), but instead use it as ground based spectrum (which is much more expensive to license)

    Car analogy: I buy a classic old timer, so I don't have to pay road taxes (or much less anyway) and much less insurance. Now I put those license plates on a Hummer and still expect to not pay the road taxes and much less insurance...

  • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Monday February 20, 2012 @10:19AM (#39099027) Journal

    You don't get what a provisional approval means. The FCC said, we don't know if what you want to do is possible but we are not going to say no right away, if you want, you can proof your claim.

    Had the FCC not done this, they would have been a dinosaur, an unmovable object on the road to progress. Instead they allowed a test, a test to prove that what the FCC believed (that the proposal would not work) was wrong.

    It is like a provisional driving license or are you going to claim that if you get a provisional driving license, the state is obliged to give you a full license regardless of whether you pass the test?

    Provisional licenses are pretty common, often you need a license to do something for real but you first need to do it in a test to do but to test it you need a license. To get around this, you issue a provisional license. It allows test and allows people to challenge assumptions but if you fail the test, so be it. Unless you want to sue your examiner for failing you.

  • by Andy Dodd (701) <atd7@corUUUnell.edu minus threevowels> on Monday February 20, 2012 @10:57AM (#39099323) Homepage

    You can't prove conformance without test data. You can't get test data without a limited operational license.

    LightSquared was given a provisional operating license to operate a terrestrial network for the purposes of interoperability testing, and proving with that network that they had the capability to expand that network nationwide without causing interference. They WERE given a license to operate at the suggested power levels, and this license was a provisional time-limited one to see if operating at those levels caused problems. Instead of their network proving that it was possible - their network proved that it was IMpossible. The whole point of the limited provisional license was to permit LightSquared to operate a limited test network without deploying a massive nationwide network and getting THAT shut down after only a few months of operation.

    As to "trading spectrum with the DoD" - holy crap what morons. Sorry, when you're talking about a complete network of satellites, the costs of throwing away that network and building a new one are astronomical. Let's not forget the large base of installed aviation and military GPS equipment - getting certification for aviation-grade GPS systems is a VERY time consuming and expensive process.

  • by Chrisq (894406) on Monday February 20, 2012 @11:08AM (#39099423)

    The GPS makers took advantage of the lack of adjacent channels to cheap out on the filters. The GPS industry has no license relating to the spectrum in question, they are listening on it by virtue of having poor filters. If the spectrum involved was adjacent to something less important like ISM band (wifi routers etc.) or ham radio, the FCC would probably have said "by better filters you idiots, you only bought the bit you are sitting on ". But this is a case where if you screw up big enough not only to affect yourself, but everyone else, everyone else has your back. To be completely fair though, enough power would overload any filter and designing for the environment is part of it, so the FCC puts quiet things next to sensitive things, and groups loud things together to give similar dynamic range. In short, the FCC is doing their job, the GPS folks kind of didn't but not in any criminal fashion.

    So if I propose a communication system that involves shouting loudly through a megaphone across the street and the environment agency shuts it down, not only could I sue them but all the house-builders who did not provide adequate sound insulation?

  • Re:Oh come on. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by stevew (4845) on Monday February 20, 2012 @11:12AM (#39099475) Journal

    Let's highlight this last "LightSquared were Idiots!" because they were trying to do something that any amateur radio operator that has been on a Field Day with more than one station would understand - wasn't going to work without even TRYING the experiment.

  • by bws111 (1216812) on Monday February 20, 2012 @11:14AM (#39099487)

    How do you expect them to prove they can conform if they don't have a license to run at those levels? Getting a license to operate at low levels, then operating a high levels so you can prove you didn't interfere is not exactly a way to get the FCC on your side. The FCC did it exactly right - "we don't think this will work, but we will give you a license to prove us wrong".

"There is nothing new under the sun, but there are lots of old things we don't know yet." -Ambrose Bierce

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