FCC Seeks Comment On LightSquared Request

Jan 31 2012 | 1:39pm ET

The Federal Communications Commission has asked for public comment on whether global positioning systems deserve legal protection from interference, a much-needed victory for Harbinger Capital Partners' wireless Internet venture.

LightSquared has been buffeted by opposition from GPS makers and users, who say that its service will interfere with most GPS devices. Government testing has confirmed widespread interference, and a federal panel has recommended an end to testing.

But LightSquared last month asked the FCC to find that GPS devices don't merit legal protection from interference, arguing that GPS makers have long sold "unlicensed and poorly designed" receivers."

"The question has, for too long, been evaded by the GPS manufacturers," LightSquared executive Jeff Carlisle said.

The FCC said its comment period would last until Feb. 27, with responses due on March 13.

Harbinger has poured more than half of its assets into LightSquared.

Jim Kirkland, one of LightSquared's chief opponents, called its FCC request "revisionist history and gross mischaracterization of prior FCC decisions."

"LightSquared and its predecessors have never been allowed to interfere with GPS."

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