FCC blocks LightSquared, company seeks appeal

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced this week that it will block wireless technology services from the Virginia company LightSquared because of the interference it caused with Global Positioning System (GPS) signals. The move comes after a Commerce Department report found that there is “no practical way to mitigate the potential interference at this time.”

LightSquared is a hedge fund backed technology company that proposed a new wholesale network for broadband services powered through satellite communications airwaves. The company claimed that the network would help expand broadband into rural areas.

LightSquared purchased rights to frequencies for its proposed network, however those bands were very close to the GPS bands and created significant interference. Navigation systems for several types of vehicles were impacted because their GPS receivers lacked the ability to filter out transmissions from LightSquared in order to continue functioning.

The Commerce Department has said that fixing the interference problem would be cost prohibative in order to accomodate use by a single company. The company said in a statement that it remains committed to finding a solution with the federal government.

Philip Falcone, the founder of the hedge fund invested in the country will likely be forced to sell the frequencies if no solution is found. Falcone’s Harbinger Capital Partners has invested $3 billion in the wireless venture.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the company is also mapping out a legal strategy which may include litigation if no solution is presented. The company has $1.6 billion in loans. The Defense Department and several farm equipment makers are joining with the Commerce Department in pushing the FCC to keep the project from moving forward.

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