Philip Falcone’s LightSquared should be barred from using some airwaves for its planned nationwide wireless network to avoid interference with navigation gear, makers and users of global-positioning system devices said.
There’s undisputed evidence that LightSquared operations in airwaves nearest to those used by GPS devices “would cause massive interference,” the Coalition to Save Our GPS said today in a filing with the Federal Communications Commission.
The FCC is considering whether to approve LightSquared’s plans to use airwaves formerly reserved mainly for satellites to bring high-speed wireless Internet to as many as 260 million people. GPS users say LightSquared may disrupt navigation by aircraft, boats, tractors and automobiles.
The coalition’s request is an “old demand” by GPS companies that want to use airwaves licensed to LightSquared, Terry Neal, a vice president with the Reston, Virginia-based wireless company, said in an e-mailed statement. “Today’s filing by the coalition is little more than a land grab,” Neal said.
LightSquared, backed by Falcone’s Harbinger Capital Partners hedge fund, told the FCC in June it would initially refrain from using airwaves closest to GPS operations.
LightSquared said it may use those idled airwaves to meet demand in five to six years. The statement came in a reply to a query from Representative Ralph Hall, a Texas Republican and chairman of the Science Committee, which held a Sept. 8 hearing on the company’s proposal.
Tammy Sun, an FCC spokeswoman, didn’t immediately respond to an e-mail and telephone call seeking comment.
The Coalition to Save Our GPS, formed to oppose LightSquared’s plans, lists members including package shippers FedEx Corp. (FDX) and United Parcel Service Inc., GPS-unit makers Trimble Navigation Ltd. (TRMB) and Garmin Ltd. (GRMN), farm-gear maker Deere & Co. (DE) and the Air Transport Association with members Delta Air Lines Inc. (DAL) and AMR Corp. (AMR)’s American Airlines.
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