LightSquared requests FCC permission to conduct tests in support of a frequency swap

LightSquared has asked the FCC for special temporary authority to conduct four months of tests in support of a potential frequency move. The application, and accompanying exhibit, were received by the FCC on March 5.

As background, to help resolve GPS interference concerns, LightSquared has proposed to conduct a portion of its terrestrial operations in 1670-1680 MHz instead of 1545-1555 MHz. It currently has authority to use half that, 1670-1675 MHz. The 1675-1680 MHz portion, however, is currently allocated for use by meteorological aids such as radiosondes and satellites. The company wants to conduct tests to see if its base stations would be compatible with other services in the 1675-1680 MHz band. A big concern is the radiosondes. Another part of the testing is determining if the radiosondes would be compatible with other services in the 400.15-406 MHz band, if they need to move there to accommodate LightSquared’s needs in 1675-1680 MHz. If a move is needed, the tests would help determine the costs of such a move, and “inform an eventual determination of an appropriate vehicle for meeting these costs” (i.e., who pays).

LightSquared asks to conduct tests across the continental United States. All transmitters would be coordinated with the FCC and NTIA, as needed.