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LightSquared/GPS Update

GPS-LS-6-30The spectrum management experts on the House Appropriation Committee have stepped into this battle, no doubt at the urging of the masses of lobbyists and PR agents involved. Broadcasting & Cable reports that

“Republican Reps. Steve Austria (Ohio) and Kevin Yoder (Kan.) introduced the amendment, which would prevent the FCC from spending any money to permit the service "until the Commission has resolved concerns of potential widespread harmful interference by such commercial terrestrial operations to commercially available Global Positioning System devices."

Certainly the FCC has not proceeded brilliantly in this area, but despite the cries of the GPS community of bias, the real reason is just that the FCC (and NTIA for that matter) is presently poorly equipped to handle complex technical policy that lie outside of its past experience.

Thus FCC did an outstanding job on the technical aspects of the DTV transition because it was a natural evolution of its strong traditional areas. FCC did a poor job on the Northpoint/MVDDS issue because of lack of related experience and resources until Congress (at DirecTV’s mischievous urging) forced it to hire an outside analysis.

Rather than micromanage ongoing spectrum policy deliberations, perhaps the Congress should ask why FCC does no have the technical resources to handle such policy deliberations and ponder the implications of long drawn out spectrum policy fights on capital formation for innovative technology?

Could the GPS its industry use its prodigious lobbying power for long term technical improvement at FCC or only in a selfserving way?

Meanwhile, our friends over at FierceWireless have a good report on the latest spats between LightSquared and the GPS advocates. The report on LightSquared initial proposal has finally been released and a new battle of press releases has begun.

In case anyone wants to read the actual report, here it is:
(Part 1) (Part 2) (Part 3) (Part 4) (Part 5)

The LightSquared release quoted at the top is

The Coalition to Save Our GPS release quoted at the top is


While the GPS crowd is throwing their weight around, maybe they should consider siding with NARUC on the technical expertise area at FCC. Fast Net News has an
interesting piece on NARUC and FCC technical staffing. In part:

“18 out of 20 of the top people at the FCC are "policy" people, mostly lawyers. The very few technical people even near the top are generally excellent but are treated like garbage and generally ignored. They are almost never in the room when decisions are made. For years, there was no Chief Technologist nor Technology Advisory Committee.”

Indeed, today there is a TAC, but it continues to avoid current policy issues - unlike its counterparts at other regulatory agencies - and seems to be a major industry channel into the Commission - as if they need another one.

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