Skip to comments.LightSquared Fiasco Puts Harsh Spotlight on FCC's Genachowski
Posted on 02/15/2012 9:49:46 AM PST by jazusamo
In a major victory for the National Legal and Policy Center, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) yesterday reversed itself and revoked a controversial waiver it had granted LightSquared, which would have allowed the company to deploy a national wireless network. The reversal is not only a major setback for LightSquared's billionaire owner Phil Falcone, but puts a harsh spotlight on the role of FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski.
The FCC's decision is expected to all but end LightSquared's aspirations to provide mobile broadband services via satellite airwaves -- a plan that was touted from its inception by FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski. Under his tenure, the FCC granted the company a key conditional waiver in January 2011 that was meant to help fast-track the network.
A friend of President Obama's from Harvard Law School, Genachowski has brought a culture of wheeling and dealing to the FCC, on whose decisions billions of telecom dollars ride.
The purported reason for yesterday's reversal was a new report by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) that concluded that there was "no way" to prevent Falcone's network from interfering with Global Positioning Systems (GPS). But other intervening events, such as the attempt by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to ban Falcone from the securities industry for life, put the FCC on the spot.
When Genachowski and the other Obama FCC appointees did the favor for Falcone, did they have any idea that they might be creating severe technical problems for users of GPS? And why did the FCC jump on Falcone's bandwagon when it had been publicly reported that the SEC and a U.S. Attorney were already investigating Falcone? The only possible answer is that the deal was wired at the White House and that political clout would trump all else.
Only in Barack Obama's version of crony capitalism have executive branch agencies operated at such cross-purposes. The White House staff and the FCC orchestrated a series of favors for Falcone while the SEC is seeking a lifetime ban.
We are proud to have played a role in blowing the whistle on this deal. In February 2, 2011 letter , we asked the House Committee on Government Reform and Oversight, chaired by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), to investigate. We were the first to make the connection between the FCC waiver and Falcone's political influence.
This is good news. It should be a scandal, but it won’t be.
Obama tried to pull a fast one on this and had it not been for the Air Force General speaking out several months ago they'd have probably gotten away with it.
If a tree falls in the forest, and there is no one there to hear it, does it make a sound?
If a scandal happens in DC and only FOX News covers it, is it really a scandal?
How long can these sons of camels continue to cover for the one?
Sorry, I know the answer and it makes me sick.
Now, will this “green” Obama contributor be forced to file for Bankruptcy?
If Obama wins, that AF General will not earn his next star. They’ll pin it in his rectum on his way out the door.
For the best maybe, since he’ll take his pension into his private industry job. He deserves it for knocking this thing down.
LightSquared had what seemed like a good idea but one that could have been and should have been shot down by the engineers right from the get-go.
The practical limits on filtering out of band transmit signals to levels that would not interfere with existing (and future) systems operating in the adjacent frequency bands is well established science. You don't need to build up a huge system to prove that it isn't. The performance of a system like LightSquared pursued is easily simulated and that should have been all it took to shoot down the idea long before serious money was invested in both the system design and the the equally foolish contributions to the Obama presidential campaign.
And, IMHO, despite the fear that the politicians would, via the FCC, succeed in overruling this science, that possibility was never in the cards. The political push-back which we have seen was and is too much for even The One to fend off.
Gen. Shelton of AF Space Command is a four star and I believe he spoke up because of the corrupt turkey in the WH.
It looks like he doesn’t give a hoot about any future assignments but if Zer0 is not reelected Shelton could probably name his next assignment if he wants to stay in.
God bless him.
This is bull. Interference is easily simulated, and GPS receivers would have no problem if their filtering accounted for the maximum allowable adjacent channel interference. What they didn’t account for is that the GPS manufacturers cut corners and built cheaper filters not capable of filtering out the max. allowable interference. This was all fine when nobody was using the adjacent channel, but now that someone is trying to use it, the GPS receivers broke because of their out-of-spec filters.
For all you non-industry people, a good analogy is that the GPS receiver manufacturers built a house with walls that did not meet the required sound-proofing code. This was all fine when nobody lived next door. Lightsquared moves in next door and wants to play loud music. The FCC says it’s ok, because they assume that the GPS receivers walls are built to code and will filter out most of the noise. But the cheap, out-of-code walls that the GPS receivers used are letting too much sound through and so they complain to the FCC.
So instead of telling the original neighbor to fix his walls to the building code they were supposed to meet, the FCC is kicking out the new neighbor. How’s that fair?
If you have stated the facts correctly it isn't fair.
But a little backup to your assertion would be in order. What are the filtering specs that are being ignored? And how do we know that the LightSquared system would work if these specs were actually being met by the various GPS equipment manufacturers?
Your right, and it’s the GPS manufacturers who are at fault here, whatever the political connections.
Sprint, the cell phone co., had a deal with lightsquared that was given an extension.
This must kill it for lightsquared and allow sprint to back out.
Uhm - I professionally disagree with you, i.e. I’m an EE with appropriate experience to have a valid opinion. One good working definition of engineering is “An engineer is someone who can do for One Dollar what any fool can do for Two Dollars.”
Working from that premise, and understanding we’re talking about the consumer marketplace where every damn resistor is one too many - over-engineering the GPS receivers which have up until now been located in a quiet area of the spectrum would be BAD engineering.
Condemning the companies who put out these units with less filtering is an apples an oranges comparison. You have the choice of being in business and offering a competitive product where EVERYONE is designing them the same way, or you could choose to over-engineer the system and not have any customers.
That is the simple calculus that was done here.
That being the case - it is LightSquared who is claiming the rest of the band is out of step (pun intended!) They are Johnny-come-latelys that want to complain because the world doesn’t work like they think it should (physics included...) They are the ones that need to engineer their systems to work with the millions of deployed units that would be harmed if they went out with their original system...
Would you allow LightSquared to go ahead with their proposal?
Would this require every weapons system now in use in the U.S. arsenal that relies on GPS, to upgrade it's GPS receiver? Would civilian GPS receivers also be required to be upgraded? Would this cost very much, do you think?
Your assertions are not based in fact. GPS is fine, it is LS that wants to violate the rules.
For all you non-industry people...
You, Sir are clearly not an industry person if that industry involves moving electrons.
I understand the engineering & economic reasons behind it. *GPS receiver* manufacturers (note I specify the receivers, not the actual system) made a design choice to use less filtering. Tighter filters require more stages, are physically bigger, require more engineering to develop, etc.
That being said, the FCC is very clear about frequency assignments, and any system that listens to spectrum outside of their specific assigned slot is susceptible to interference. Just because they are “Johnny-come-lately” doesn’t mean they lose the rights to the spectrum they own and paid for - there’s no squatters rights in frequency spectrum.
I also know from reading that Falcone made donations to Obama and Democrats for expedited approval. What was their hurry? I can't feel too sorry for a company going bankrupt (if in fact they do) that was trying to pull off a scam to make millions if not billions and using political connections to do it.
They were fully aware of the problems but tried to get away with it but were nailed.
Thank you for posting them, and the original story also. All were very interesting reading.
The frequencies the company LS bought were never intended to be used by ground based “re-transmitters” screaming right next to GPS satellite whispers.
This is a perfect example of crony capitalism.
You’re most welcome, it’s good they were shut down and should have been sooner.
I posted a short article late yesterday afternoon that says LightSquared is going to fight this decision but I believe it’s just bluster on their part.
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