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FCC declines proposed broadband plan

As Texas residents know, technological advances are booming at an exponential rate. However, what happens when an advanced and innovative system conflicts or interferes with another technological structure? This is where regulation agencies step in. In recent news, the Federal Communications and Commission (FCC) has declined the proposed creation of a wireless broadband network that would provide voice and internet service using airwaves, which were once set aside for satellite-telephone transmissions. According to a recent article, the proposed network interferes with current GPS technology.

The FCC's ruling is a product of an opinion, which was released by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration. The company has stated that currently, there is no way to alleviate the potential interference with GPS technologies.

The news crushes the hopes and plans of LightSquared, a Virginia-based company. LightSquared feels that the evaluative testing, which was used to determine the ruling, was flawed.

The company argues that the network would have created jobs. Also, the setup would have backed President Obama's plan to expand wireless Internet access around the country. On the other hand, the network has been opposed by organizations and industries that rely on GPS systems, including the military, aviation, construction and agriculture.

The ruling was a difficult decision for the FCC because the interference was not the fault of LightSquared. Basic GPS receivers pick up signals from outside of the spectrum designated for such devices. LightSquared wants to use the satellite-telephone part of airwaves; however this is next to the GPS band on the electromagnetic spectrum. GPS devices will interfere with those transmissions. Furthermore, the FCC cannot fault GPS users. That would mean changing a massive and widespread industry.

Much of the opposition to the network has come from the Pentagon and military industries. They rely heavily on GPS systems. Nevertheless, LightSquared noted that it "remains committed to finding a resolution with the federal government and the GPS industry to resolve all remaining concerns."

Source: New York Times, "F.C.C. bars the use of airwaves for a broadband plan," Edward Wyatt, Feb. 14, 2012