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LightSquared to FCC: Give us our approval now

The startup is pressing for approval to use its spectrum to build a 4G LTE network, arguing that GPS devices have no right to interference protection.

LightSquared is done with the government's hemming and hawing, and is pressuring for approval to use its spectrum to build a next-generation wireless network.

In the company's most aggressively worded message to the Federal Communications Commission, LightSquared argues that the GPS industry has no right to seek protection from the potential interference that LightSquared's network could cause. It said today that it has filed a petition seeking a declaratory ruling confirming its rights as a spectrum licensee. The company has been battling the perception that its network could possibly cripple critical GPS devices--hurting planes, farming equipment, and consumer devices.

While LightSquared--backed by hedge fund manager Philip Falcone's Harbinger Capital--has worked to prove its network isn't a threat, it has now taken a slightly modified tack: claiming that the GPS industry has been manufacturing devices that bleed into its licensed spectrum.

"The one inescapable conclusion from two rounds of independent testing is that the incompatibility problem is not caused by LightSquared's network," said Jeff Carlisle, executive vice president for regulatory affairs and public policy for LightSquared. "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."

The filing comes a few days after a government report came out claiming that LightSquared's wireless network would interfere with a "majority" of GPS devices. At the time, LightSquared CEO Sanjiv Ahuja said in a statement that the company would not give up on its plans.

LightSquared argued in its recent filing that since GPS devices operate on unlicensed spectrum, they shouldn't be protected. The company has noted that it has FCC authorization, for more than eight years, to build a network--an authorization that was approved by the GPS industry. Despite the authorization, LightSquared still needs a waiver from the FCC to use the spectrum.

If the 4G LTE network is approved, LightSquared will work with Sprint Nextel to build it out. LightSquared intends to sell 4G service on a wholesale basis, and has already lined up more than 30 customers.