Stormy weather ahead? LightSquared suggests weather balloon scheme to get LTE project back on track

2 Oct 2012

Much-maligned open-access Long Term Evolution (LTE) venture LightSquared is hoping to use weather balloon spectrum to get its 4G network up and running, Fierce Wireless reports. The company, which sought to build out a nationwide hybrid LTE network using terrestrial and satellite networks, and encompassing non-traditional spectrum in the 1.4GHz and 1.6GHz bands, saw its hopes dashed in February this year when the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) declared that its mooted frequencies interfered with GPS satellite navigation devices and aircraft flight safety equipment. Subsequent weeks saw the stricken company beset with myriad financial and legal problems, before being forced into bankruptcy in May.

Despite its well-documented problems, the company has now propositioned the government with a view to combining its existing 1670MHz-1675MHz L-Band satellite spectrum with 1675MHz-1680MHz frequencies utilised by National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration weather balloons. There is no timeline on if or when the FCC will make a decision on LightSquared’s proposal; the watchdog is currently under investigation by the House Energy and Commerce Committee for encouraging LightSquared’s progress.