US telecom regulators have pulled the plug on an ambitious plan to build a high-speed wireless broadband network, citing potential interference with GPS navigation devices.
The Federal Communications Commission said late Tuesday that it was revoking permission for LightSquared to build a 4G-LTE network that the company had said would cover more than 90 percent of the United States by 2015.
Explaining the decision, the FCC cited research done by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), the agency that coordinates spectrum use by the US military and federal government.
"LightSquared's proposal to provide ground-based mobile service offered the potential to unleash new spectrum for mobile broadband and enhance competition," the FCC said in a statement.
"The Commission clearly stated from the outset that harmful interference to GPS would not be permitted," it said. "(NTIA) has now concluded that there is no practical way to mitigate potential interference at this time.
"Consequently, the Commission will not lift the prohibition on LightSquared."
In a statement, the Reston, Virginia-based LightSquared said it "profoundly disagrees" with the NTIA's conclusions and they were the result of a "severely flawed testing process that relied on obsolete and niche devices."
At the same time, the company said it "remains committed to finding a resolution with the federal government and the GPS industry to resolve all remaining concerns.
"LightSquared is confident that the parties will continue the ongoing efforts to explore all engineering options and alternatives to find a solution to this difficult issue," the company said in a statement.
LightSquared, which is backed by Philip Falcone, founder and chief executive of Harbinger Capital Partners, planned to use satellite spectrum to build its its fourth-generation, or 4G, wireless broadband network.
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