The United States Federal Communications Commission announced on Tuesday afternoon that the National Telecommunications and Information Administration has found that LightSquared’s network ultimately will always interfere with other networks. “NTIA… has now concluded that there is no practical way to mitigate potential interference at this time.” the FCC said. “The Commission clearly stated from the outset that harmful interference to GPS would not be permitted. Consequently, the Commission will not lift the prohibition on LightSquared.”
The FCC and GPS manufacturers have long argued that LightSquared’s 4G LTE network interferes with existing GPS networks. LightSquared has been desperately trying to gain FCC approval, as it’s one prerequisite in a contract under which it will help provide Sprint with its 4G LTE network. Sprint originally gave the company until the end of 2011 to gain the FCC’s blessing, but it failed to do so. As a result, Sprint gave LightSquared a 3-month extension until March 2012 to get approval form the FCC.
LightSquared and a former FCC engineer have argued that the testing was conducted by private parties with ties to the GPS industry. The company specifically said the tests were “rigged by manufacturers of GPS receivers and government end users to produce bogus results,” in a statement published late last month. In addition, LightSquared says its network has been tested at 32-times greater the power level at which it will actually operate.
LightSquared was not immediately available for comment on the FCC’s comments.