LightSquared to FCC: it’s our spectrum, interference is GPS industry’s problem

Embattled wholesale satellite broadband contender LightSquared has taken off the gloves. The company has asked the Federal Communications Commission for a “declaratory ruling” confirming its right to use spectrum licensed to the company by the FCC. Not only that, but LightSquared wants the Commission to confirm that GPS makers—who have been complaining of interference risks for months—lack any legal basis to ask for interference protections.

“It is clear that GPS devices are purposefully designed to look into LightSquared’s licensed spectrum, and given this evidence, we believe decision-makers should consider LightSquared’s legal rights as the licensee,” declared LightSquared public policy vice president Jeff Carlisle in a press statement released today.

Commercial GPS device sellers have had “nearly a decade to design and sell devices that do not infringe on LightSquared’s licensed spectrum. They have no right to complain in the eleventh-hour about incompatibility when they had ample opportunity to avoid this problem.”

Chances are that the GPS industry will not be surprised or cowed by these claims. “LightSquared is determinedly attempting to control the public narrative, seizing upon this proceeding not to provide the information that the Bureau has sought,” charged Paul Rodriquez of the US GPS Industry Council on Tuesday, “but simply to exploit it as an additional forum for its campaign of proof by assertion.” The GPS industry filing with the FCC’s LightSquared Technical Working Group docket arrived even before LightSquared submitted its latest petition.
General purpose interference

LightSquared is engaged in what has become a pitched regulatory battle to deploy satellite delivered LTE broadband on a wholesale basis across the Mobile-Satellite Service (MSS) region (1525-1559 MHz). Just about every moment in its application has become a press release battle with the GPS industry. When last we left the drama—LightSquared was protesting the leaked results of the latest government tests on the interference question. They concluded that the company’s proposed signals harmfully slam into GPS devices around 75 percent of the time.

“This came from someone in the government process and it is an outrage,” declared LightSquared Executive Vice President Martin Harriman. Perhaps so, but several days later the Pentagon and Department of Transportation confirmed the gist of the latest round of exams.

    Preliminary analysis of the test findings found no significant interference with cellular phones. However, the testing did show that LightSquared signals caused harmful interference to the majority of other tested general purpose GPS receivers.  Separate analysis by the Federal Aviation Administration also found interference with a flight safety system designed to warn pilots of approaching terrain.

For months LightSquared has argued that it has a series of workarounds for interference problems. These include lower power deployments and restricting its transmissions to a smaller portion of its allocated spectrum. But now the company is foregrounding arguments that call into question the legal foundation for interference appeals.
Failed to heed

Bottom line (argues LightSquared), GPS devices don’t just tune into the RNSS band, where they are authorized to operate, but to the MSS band as well. That’s not LightSquared’s problem, they claim, that’s the GPS industry’s problem. The petition comes complete with a lengthy history of the MSS band that suggests that everybody has known for a decade that this issue would come to a head.

“While the deployment of terrestrial transmitters in the MSS band has been expected for almost a decade, the commercial GPS industry has failed to take that eventuality into account in designing and selling GPS receivers,” LightSquared contends. Specifically, GPS makers have “failed to heed” FCC language requiring manufacturer to build receivers “reflecting the state of the art” regarding interference risks.

Thus LightSquared wants various declarations from the FCC, prominent among them that commercial GPS receivers “lack standing” to file interference and protection complains. The company also wants the Commission to say that:

    Commercial GPS devices that receive GPS signals in the MSS band are “nonconforming” and inconsistent with the MSS allocation in that band, and as such are not entitled to any “protection” regardless of whether they are licensed.
    The costs of ensuring that GPS devices are compatible with adjacent band operations—including any costs necessary to retrofit legacy devices—are the responsibility of GPS manufacturers [or “at minimum” are not the obligation of LightSquared].

The GPS industry filing counters that LightSquared’s account of events are “not even possible, let alone factual,” tracing the relatively new company’s proposals back to November of 2010.

As for charges of poor GPS design: “LightSquared’s problem is not the design of GPS receivers,” but the “dramatic changes in spectrum use it proposes” in its operating environment, “a circumstance of which it should have been aware before it proposed terrestrial-only operation.”
Sprint deadline

Another complication: LightSquared has a network sharing arrangement with Sprint that requires the former to get a green light from the FCC. The agreement gives LightSquared access to spectrum hosting and network services over an eleven year period, but the deadline for Commission approval is looming.

Judging by the statement we received from Sprint today, the telco is willing to give its partner lots of slack on this issue. Both companies have “realigned our deployment timeline to coincide with potential FCC actions,” Sprint notes, but “the deal between the parties remains intact.”

Sprint “supports LightSquared’s business plans and efforts to resolve potential interference issues expediently,” the statement concludes. But: “the agreement includes protections for Sprint relating to LightSquared’s requirement to receive FCC approvals.”

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Professor Schulzrinne as Chief Technology Officer

Chairman Julius Genachowski announced today the appointment of Henning
Schulzrinne as Chief Technology Officer.
FCC Chairman Genachowski said, “I’m delighted that Henning will be joining us. The communications
technology revolution is key to our economy and broad opportunity. With the appointment of Henning –
a world-class technologist – we extend our commitment to technology excellence at the FCC and to
strong engagement with outside technology experts.”
As Chief Technology Officer, Schulzrinne will guide the FCC’s work on technology and engineering
issues, together with the FCC’s Office of Engineering and Technology. He will advise on matters across
the agency to ensure that FCC policies are driving technological innovation, including serving as a
resource to FCC Commissioners. He will also help the FCC engage with technology experts outside the
agency and promote technical excellence among agency staff. He will be based in the FCC’s Office of
Strategic Planning and Policy Analysis.
Schulzrinne is Julian Clarence Levi Professor of Mathematical Methods and Computer Science and
Professor of Engineering at The Fu Foundation School of Engineering at Columbia University. He has
been an Engineering Fellow at the FCC since 2010. He has published more than 250 journal and
conference papers, and more than 70 Internet Requests for Comment (RFCs). He is widely known for the
development of key protocols that enable voice-over-IP (VoIP) and other multimedia applications that are
now Internet standards, including the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP). His research interests include
Internet multimedia systems, applied network engineering, wireless networks, security, quality of service,
and performance evaluation.
Schulzrinne received his undergraduate degree in economics and electrical engineering from the
Darmstadt University of Technology, Germany, his MSEE degree as a Fulbright scholar from the
University of Cincinnati, Ohio and his Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst,
Massachusetts. He was a member of technical staff at AT&T Bell Laboratories, Murray Hill and an
associate department head at GMD-Fokus (Berlin), before joining the Computer Science and Electrical
Engineering departments at Columbia University, New York. He is an IEEE Fellow and a former member
of the Internet Architecture Board (IAB).

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Eddie Lazarus announced his resignation

Chief of staff of the Federal Communications Commission Eddie Lazarus announced his resignation on Tuesday after fighting brutal battles over Internet access rules and the reviews of two massive mergers.

The former head of the Los Angeles office for the Akin, Gump law firm, came to the FCC in June 2009 with no telecommunications policy experience. Lazarus had orchestrated weeks-long negotiations between the nation’s biggest telephone and cable firms along with Google and Skype over those rules, which are being challenged in federal court.

“No one has done more than Eddie Lazarus to ensure that the FCC meets its vital mission to
harness communications technology to benefit our economy and all Americans.  Eddie has
worked tirelessly to refocus the FCC on broadband Internet, and unleash its opportunities.
“His imprint is on so many of our initiatives: USF reform and the creation of the Connect
America Fund; incentive auctions and other innovative policies to free up spectrum for licensed
and unlicensed use; consumer empowerment around “bills shock” and increased consumer
protection.   These and other initiatives to grow our economy and benefit our citizens would not
have been possible without Eddie.
“Among Eddie’s accomplishments is the strengthening of the FCC’s great staff.  Eddie has done
so much toward ensuring that the FCC is a model for excellence in government, and when he
departs he’ll leave a strong and experienced staff.
“We’ll miss Eddie deeply, but will continue to benefit every day from his leadership, strength
and brilliance.”

Julius Genachowski, the FCC Chairman has not announced Lazarus’ successor.

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Spectrum Auction Bill Advances In House

A Republican-backed payroll tax and jobs bill with TV spectrum auction language attached won House passage last night. But many hurdles still stand in the way of it becoming law. President Obama has said he would veto the legislation as it now stands. Still, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, who has championed the reallocation of TV spectrum to wireless broadband, called the House vote a “major achievement.

FCC House Vote

By a 234-193 vote, the House last night passed a controversial GOP      payroll tax and jobs package (H.R.3630) that also includes provisions   granting the FCC authority to hold incentive auctions of TV spectrum.

House Republicans inserted the spectrum auction proposal, adopted earlier this month by the House Communications Subcommittee, to the package, claiming that revenue from the auctions would reduce the federal deficit by $16.5 billion over 10 years.

The incentive auction is a key element of the FCC’s 2010 National Broadband Plan to make more spectrum available for wireless broadband use.

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski called the House vote a “major acheivement.” The spectrum provisions “would would free up new spectrum for mobile broadband, driving investment, innovation and job creation; generating many billions of dollars of revenue; and helping foster U.S. leadership in mobile broadband.”

But the fate of the GOP bill remains unclear. The measure now heads to the Senate where Democrats have major problems with how the legislations handles certain tax provisions.

And President Obama is threatening to veto the legislation if the measure passes Congress.

Still, some Hill insiders believe a compromise between the two chambers and parties could still emerge this weekend before Congress adjourns for the holidays.

That also means that the House Republicans must reconcile their differences with House and Senate Democrats over key provisions of the incentive auction language authored by House Communications Subcommitte Chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.) and now a part of H.R. 3630.

The main source of contention is over the allocation of the so-called D-block spectrum and the establishment of a national broadband public safety network. House Democrats are objecting primarily to provisions affecting the governance and funding of the network.

But Democrats don’t like language that would prohibit the FCC from applying its net neutrality rules to any new spectrum holder.

And they oppose provisions that would prohibit allocating spectrum from incentive auctions for unlicensed use and prevent the FCC from restricting who can buy the spectrum broadcasters give up.

The lawmakers are also at odds over the compensation of broadcasters that would have to change channels in the “repacking” of the TV band. House Democrats say that the $3 billion relocation fund favored by the Republicans is too much. They would slash it to $1 billion as recommended by the Congressional Budget Office.

Some broadcast industry lobbyists believe there is still a significant chance that the spectrum provisions could be dropped from the GOP package if Republicans and Democrats are unable to reach agreement on them.

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Loud Commercials Addressed by the FCC

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) today took a major step toward
eliminating one of the most persistent problems of the television age – loud commercials.  The
Commission adopted a Report and Order that implements the 2010 Commercial Advertisement Loudness
Mitigation Act (the CALM Act), in which Congress gave the Commission, for the first time, authority to
address the problem of excessive commercial loudness.
The rules adopted today require that commercials have the same average volume as the programs they
accompany.  The rules also establish simple, practical ways for stations and MVPDs to demonstrate their
compliance with the rules.  They carry out Congress’ mandate to give viewers relief from overloud
commercials while avoiding unnecessary burdens on television stations and MVPDs.
As the CALM Act requires, the rules will become effective one year after the date of their adoption, or
December 13, 2012.  This gives stations and MVPDs until this date to be in full compliance.  Equally
important, it provides ample time for programmers and networks to provide their distributors with
certifications stating the commercials that accompany their programming are fully compliant with these
rules.  These certifications, though not mandatory, will simplify the safe harbor process for all stations
and MVPDs.  While consumer complaints about loud commercials have diminished since 2009, we expect
that these new rules will reduce loudness complaints still further.

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FCC commissioner fears international Internet takeover

There is an effort within the United Nations – led by Russia, China and a coalition of developing nations with authoritarian regimes — to control the Internet, and 2012 may be a crucial year for opposition to such a shift, a key U.S. overseer warned Thursday.


Federal Communications Commissioner Robert McDowell, a Republican, told the Federal Communications Bar     Association that “scores of countries, including China, Russia and India, are pushing hard for international regulation            of  Internet governance.”

In December 2012, the International Telecommunications Union, a U.N. agency, will host a meeting in Dubai to     renegotiate a treaty signed in 1988. That treaty was responsible for what McDowell calls a “dramatic liberalization of international telecommunications,” which set about “the greatest deregulatory success story of all time.”  The   Dubai meeting could conclude with an agreement to consolidate authority over the Internet under the ITU.

“While we have been focused on other important matters here in the U.S., the effort to radically reverse the long-standing international consensus to keep governments from regulating core functions of the Internet’s ecosystem has been gaining momentum,” McDowell warned.

McDowell said that mechanisms for generating revenue for domestic treasuries could be devised by the ITU, as could regulations for “international mobile roaming rates and practices.” He suggested that changes could transfer “cybersecurity and data privacy to international control.”

Efforts to devise Internet regulations have been underway for several years at the U.N., and governments are not the only parties interested in consolidating Internet regulatory control under international authority. Numerous non-governmental organizations and international foundations are also involved in the effort to change Internet policy.

“The reach, scope and seriousness of this effort are nothing short of massive,” said McDowell.

In 2010 a series of United Nations fact-finding missions were sponsored by George Soros’ Open Society Institute and the Swedish government to discuss how improved Internet access could benefit human rights.

The findings came in 2011 when United Nations special rapporteur on freedom of expression Frank La Rue declared ”Internet is a human right,” the idea being that Internet access allows an individual freedom of expression and associated rights. More recently, La Rue said that governments should err against censoring the Internet, except when speech violates other human rights and encourages things like “racism.” He also said that governments should ensure that people have access to broadband Internet.

The United Nations Human Rights Council recently launched a campaign called “Let’s Fight Racism,” designed to encourage people to use social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter to work towards the breakdown of racism and xenophobic attitudes in society. The Open Society Institute and American Civil Liberties Union were among the groups representing civil society with seats at the roundtables at the U.N. General Assembly meeting in September as part of it’s “10th Anniversary of the Durban Declaration and Programme Action.”

The Durban conference 10 years ago was criticized for being anti-Semitic and a “forum for racism.” The anniversary for that conference was no better — Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad delivered anti-Western and anti-Israel remarks that prompted the U.S. envoy to walk out of the conference.

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Verizon-Cable Spectrum: Is FCC Open to Frenemy Competition?

The out-of-the-box-thinking behind the proposed $3.6b sale of cable (Comcast, Time Warner Cable, & Bright House) spectrum to Verizon ultimately may flush out the real FCC. Is the FCC open to the free spread of normal Internet-driven frenemy competition? Or is the FCC closed to new frenemy competition and intent on blocking the further spread of Internet frenemy competition into the broadband Internet marketplace?

Internet convergence has long been scrambling and vertical-izing the competitive Internet ecosystem, constantly creating new and different competition at various different strata of the Internet. Simply, Internet convergence and competitive innovation naturally breed frenemy competition.

There is a “metamorphosis of communications competition” going on driven by broadband, Internet and cloud-computing technologies that is literally transforming the market place into omni-modal competition, where competitive pressures are no longer binary or simple, but are complex frenemy pressures, emanating from most every direction. The big open question is whether there will be an accompanying metamorphosis of communications law and FCC mindset in order to keep pace with technology and market developments, and to foster progress and innovation.

This Verizon-cable spectrum development spotlights that the FCC is at a crossroads.

Double Standard? Will the FCC apply the same free and open competition standard it applies to the broader Internet ecosystem to the broadband Internet marketplace?

Or will it insist on maintaining a double standard: a regulatory, closed, and static view towards broadband deployment, while applying a free, open, and dynamic         competitive standard to the rest of the Internet ecosystem?

“Mother May I?” Will the FCC approach this license transfer review as a free market transaction between companies where market forces and negotiation determine the spectrum’s value, owner and terms, or will the FCC approach it as a “Mother-may-I?” request where the FCC sees it as a vehicle to ban or regulate the economic terms of         certain marketing arrangements that are not required to be submitted to the FCC for prior approval?

Redundant Review? Will the FCC defer to the DOJ Antitrust Division’s statutory role in reviewing the transaction for compliance with antitrust laws, or will the FCC                    deem itself to have ancillary antitrust review authority under the FCC’s amorphous and often arbitrary public interest test and try and duplicate the DOJ’s competition     analysis, like the FCC did last week in its unprecedented release of a staff analysis of the pending AT&T/T-Mobile merger?

Bait & Switch? Will the FCC appreciate that this AWS spectrum finally will be getting into the marketplace after laying fallow for several years, and will advance 4G LTE broadband deployment with sufficient capacity to minimize the network management necessity for usage caps, or will the FCC see the fallow spectrum as somehow a potential threat to competition warranting a de-facto re-imposition of FCC spectrum caps regulation in order to try and force redistribution of market share from subscriber-rich companies to subscriber-poor companies?

Title II Redux? Will the FCC approach the review of this Internet frenemy competition from the forward-looking legal-grounding of Comcast vs. FCC where broadband is an unregulated information service, or will the FCC assume the backward-looking and obsolete view of the FCC’s pending Title II Broadband Reclassification proceeding that somehow imagines that everything the FCC sees is the Internet, except for broadband?

In short, this Verizon-cable spectrum transaction is a watershed moment for the FCC. Will the FCC embrace market forces and competition as the best allocator of scarce spectrum resources? Or will the FCC slip back into a government command-and-control mentality where the FCC assumes it knows best and thus should preemptively pick winners and losers for consumers? Time will tell.

By: Scott Cleland is President of Precursor LLC a consultancy serving Fortune 500 clients, and is Chairman of Netcompetition.org, a pro-competition e-forum supported by broadband interests.

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FCC’s Internet rules clear a review hurdle

 

Controversial new Internet rules adopted late last year by the Federal Communications Commission will soon be published officially, a step expected to trigger legal challenges.

The White House’s Office of Management and Budget signed off on the rules on Friday, according to a notice on the OMB’s website, clearing way for publication in the Federal Register, a process which generally takes one to three weeks.

The rules, which try to balance fair treatment of competing content with the need for internet providers to manage their networks, will go into effect 60 days after publication.

Verizon Communications Inc and MetroPCS Communications Inc had accused the FCC of overstepping its authority in a challenge shortly after the FCC’s 3-2 vote.

But the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in April said the challenges were premature, coming prior to publication in the Federal Register.

The same court ruled last year that the FCC lacked the authority to stop Comcast Corp from blocking bandwidth-hogging applications on its broadband network. A decision leading to the FCC’s latest rules.

Criticized by opponents as a legally shaky government intrusion into regulating the Internet, the new rules would prevent network operators from blocking lawful content but still let them ration access to their networks.

The debate surrounding the Internet rules has highlighted a huge divide between those who say the Internet should flourish without regulation and those who say the power of high-speed Internet providers to discriminate against competitors needs to be restrained.

The delay between the FCC’s vote and official publication has been unusually long.

Some industry sources and former regulators have accused the FCC of intentional foot-dragging to stall court challenges.

But the FCC has attributed the delay to data collection requirements that were subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act review process.

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i pay for a local plan but thay bill me 7 cents a min for every call

they gave me a number from a other town and county so all my call to my school – postoffice- and all my call in my own town and county i got to pay 7 cents a min and pay for my local service??? and we don’t have cell phone service were we are at and when we could not pay for all that thay removed are 911 calls i am a home owner in clinton county were i live and they give me a number from franklin county what can i do ??? WE NEED HELP ON THIS MATTER ANY INFO WOULD HELP ALOT IT IS VERIZON

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iPhone 4 White Awaited as iPhone 5 Rumours Build

Screens of inventories from two separate stores Best Buy and Vodaphone Germany have popped up all over the web showing an incoming stock of the 16GB and 32GB ‘Iphone 4 White’. MacRumors’ sources say the white iPhone will be available on February 27, 2011 — just a couple weeks after the Verizon iPhone is set to launch. The white version of the Apple iPhone may finally be on its way into stores, as rumours about the expected iPhone 5 this summer continue to build.

Given Apple has put off the release of the white iPhone with so many times, it’s almost surprising that it might come out before the next major hardware revision (despite Apple’s promise that it would be released in spring of 2011). The white iPhone has been seen around press events and case discolouration is the apparent reason for the delayed release of the white handset, with reports of inconsistent colour between the case and the home button on the fascia. Issues with white paint not properly adhering to the glass back of the iPhone 4 and light leakage problems around the rear camera have both been cited as reasons for the delay.

The iPhone 5, also being discussed under the name ‘iPhone 5G’, is rumoured to come out around July this summer, which seems that Apple would bother with the white iPhone 4 now. Additionally, are there still any people left who would buy a white iPhone 4 when it comes out, or are you already sitting back and waiting until the iPhone 5?

Whatever the result is, iPhone users have resorted to buying accessories to change the look of their phones and purchasing various online store white replacement iPhone parts to modify their handsets, such as Papatek.com. SK-BTH-J 200 Bluetooth Headset Black for Your favorite iPhone, Touch screen + tool compatible with iphone, etc in Papatek.

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