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Senator Uses FCC Nomination Process To Question National Wireless Network

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the good-a-place-as-any dept.

Government 101

K7DAN contributes this excerpt from the intersection of politics, regulation, and high technology: "Sen. Charles Grassley is standing by his threat to place a hold on two nominees to the Federal Communications Commission over concerns about a controversial new wireless network the agency has allowed to move forward. The Iowa Republican this week accused the FCC of refusing to comply with his requests for information on its discussions with Virginia company LightSquared regarding its next-generation national wireless network. Some fear the network would hinder the effectiveness of high-precision GPS systems — used by the military, farmers and others. Grassley also raised questions about the involvement of Harbinger, the hedge fund behind the project and founded by Democratic donor Philip Falcone."

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101 comments

Without really knowing specifics.. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38264578)

This seems like a reasonable inquiry. However, he's a replublican, and this is slashdot, so can someone enlighten me as to why it isn't? :)

Re:Without really knowing specifics.. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38264596)

This is the new slashdot, your comment will never be seen(except by me cause yours is the first post)

The willful ignorance and groupthink is pretty bad on here an fark... and everywhere.

There are stupid people on both sides making "all are like him" possible for the other side.

Re:Without really knowing specifics.. (0, Offtopic)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#38264742)

This seems like a reasonable inquiry.... can someone enlighten me as to why it isn't?

Check his election donation records, all available online. As near as I can tell, his owners are the healthcare industry, which would superficially have nothing to do with this. The people who purchased him did so with the idea he would help them rip off the American Medical Consumer not the American Telecom Consumer. Why he would piss off his owners by not doing his job is the unclear question. Its very much like purchasing a slave for a cotton plantation who steadfastly insists on constructing igloos instead of picking cotton. If you cannot tell, I have little respect for competent owned property of lobbyists, but he apparently is not even competent at being a good little slave, so that makes it even worse.

Its possible his bribe records are not up to date online, or not properly categorized, perhaps its a future looking handshake agreement where a mobile phone PAC will donate $500K to him NEXT year. Or a trade agreement with another corporate owned slave where they support each others causes so as not to appear to be too directly of a bribe. Hard to say.

Re:Without really knowing specifics.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38265012)

It's funny, you keep saying that this guy is "owned", is a "slave" and he has been ordered to and bribed to "rip off" Americans, and you speculate about a quid pro quo conspiracy.

Yet there is no evidence for any of that.

You openly admit you don't respect politicians, but your speech is actually a manipulative rant designed to tear down a political opponent - you sound just like the politicians you despise. Actually it's less artful, because your lies are more obvious than an average politicians.

You define the man as a corrupt politician, admit that he hasn't actually done anything wrong, and claim it's because he is incompetent. I guess this is kind of shit that you expect politicians to spout as well, so you were being ironic? No?

If you were just trolling, it worked!

Re:Without really knowing specifics.. (2)

Bucc5062 (856482) | more than 2 years ago | (#38265836)

You define the man as a corrupt politician,

Actually he defined Sen Grassley as a being owned by a corporate sector, in this case medical. I also feel you may have missed the nuance of sarcasm expressed that I've often heard on late night talk/comedy shows regarding our staid politicians.

Working through the sarcasm, I find some truth in the essence of the post. It seems that these days, politicians are voting for who pays the election bills, not for what benefits the overall good of the country, or even their state. it is understandable that there would be some skepticism regarding the Senator's actions given that (1) he is a republican who's party is nominally supportive of big business and (2) telecom has not been much in his interest. Had Sen. Franken pulled this move it would make more sense, not Grassley.

Whether you want to call them a shill for the Man, a slave to corporate largess, or just greedy fucks that really don't give a shit about their own lives, politicians, with few exceptions, have shown little true concern about the citizens that elected them to office.

Re:Without really knowing specifics.. (5, Insightful)

paiute (550198) | more than 2 years ago | (#38266956)

It's funny, you keep saying that this guy is "owned", is a "slave" and he has been ordered to and bribed to "rip off" Americans, and you speculate about a quid pro quo conspiracy.

Yet there is no evidence for any of that.

He's a Congressman.

Re:Without really knowing specifics.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38267212)

Any politician accepting money from a PAC, business, or individual is proof of a bribe. It has happened so much and is so much a part of our political system that it as become normal and no one questions it. Step back and think about this statement. A public/private owned company or an "individual" giving money to help someone get elected. NO ONE GIVES MONEY AND TIME AWAY FOR FREE OR WITHOUT SOME EXPECTATION OF GETTING SOMETHING IN RETURN. A local builder is not giving your county board members election money because he wants to out of kindness. Is he just giving money to his suppliers? No. Is he just randomly giving money to his employees? No. Giving random money to people that buy his houses? No. Why is he giving to local politicians then? A telecommunications lobby group does not exist to spread the love around equally. It is to BRIBE and ensure they get what they want. Anyone who considers the lobbying effort and political donations to be anything but a direct bribe is blind and stupid.

Re:Without really knowing specifics.. (2)

PickyH3D (680158) | more than 2 years ago | (#38269100)

I think that you are generally right about bribing and the whole system being corrupt, but the idea of political donations is not inherently flawed.

If I were to give $5 to any Presidential candidate, on either side of the aisle, it would not be because I expected them to vote the way I wanted them too because of my donation. I would be donating because I expect them to vote that way regardless of my donation, and more importantly, I expect the other guy to vote the other way. As a business, it makes perfect sense that one would donate money to a candidate that was likely to vote your way. By doing so, you are giving them a better shot at winning, which means that you will likely get votes that go your way. It's only corrupt when your donation has strings attached, and if that person follows them, which seems to be pretty common (hence my opening statement).

This doesn't necessarily represent any evil business, or a bribe. It just means that I disagree with the way that the other guy votes, so I want you to win. I don't expect you to vote one way because I donated you money. I want you to win so that you vote the way that I think you will on your own--in agreement with my principles. When you stop agreeing with them, then I'll move onto the next candidate.

What if the other candidate was running to shutdown the brick business, and you're a brick business? It's your interest to donate to the other guy. Not because you are demanding that he vote the other way, but because the other candidate is crazy. That's obviously not a realistic example, but it's not that far off in some cases.

The expectation should be the same regardless of the amount donated. Obviously that is not always the case, but that is because of the individuals involved and not the process. It is perfectly reasonable to say that someone can take money and only use it to fund his/her campaign, as well as continuing to vote their conscience.

This is why I want term limits, so that politicians can't be in office long enough to be bought. A few years of the do-gooder attitude that brought them into the system should be enough to get stuff done, and then it's off to a higher office, or time to go back to doing real work. These positions are for volunteers, and not for a job. Too many people seem to forget that these days, which is why we have so many lifetime politicians (e.g., Charlie Rangel and John McCain to give examples on both sides).

Re:Without really knowing specifics.. (1)

iiiears (987462) | more than 2 years ago | (#38271374)

No evidence?... "Newt Gingrich" "Ben Bernanke" ..you get the idea.

Re:Without really knowing specifics.. (1)

Vitriol+Angst (458300) | more than 2 years ago | (#38264998)

If you get stung a lot by bees, pretty soon, you are going to suspect that bees sting.

If you were trying to prove that Grassly was actually concerned about "government transparency" -- then please refer to the secret meetings for "indefinite detention" and tell me how transparent THAT is.

Trying to prove that Grassly isn't doing this for the Military-grade GPS system or some other donor is a bit HIGHER BAR. Assuming the worst isn't unreasonable these days.

Re:Without really knowing specifics.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38268354)

He comes from an agricultural state and this absolutely kills the high precision GPS which is used to help minimize the chemical inputs onto cropland, so he is a) showing concern for the ability to feed the world, 2) the environment (limiting chemical inputs) and 3) small business (vast majority of farmers are).

I would say he is helping his constituency and the Nation as a whole.

Two thumbs up for Chuck!

Disclaimer - I am from Nebraska so he is not my congress critter and I work in agricultural sector so I have some knowledge of how this could affect farmers and manufacturers of AG equipment.

Re:Without really knowing specifics.. (1)

durrr (1316311) | more than 2 years ago | (#38265122)

He have a problem with Harbinger, a democratic vehicle.
If Sovereign, the republican was behind it he wouldn't mind.

In either case the benefits Reaped will not be a boon for anyone in the civilian population.

Re:Without really knowing specifics.. (1)

SilentChasm (998689) | more than 2 years ago | (#38265982)

If Sovereign, the republican was behind it he wouldn't mind.

He probably wouldn't mind because he's been indoctrinated.

Re:Without really knowing specifics.. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38265640)

He's from Iowa, where there are a lot of big corporate farms, a lot of big family farms, and not quite as many small family owned farms anymore.
Most if not all of these farms use semi-autonomous systems to run the tractors that plow, seed, fertilize and harvest the crops. Without properly function high resolution gps, all of this falls by the wayside and back to fully manual operations they go, increasing costs at the farm level, which will ripple outward to the market.
So in essence, he is protecting the American economy and food supply with his investigation into the potential conflicts this *supposedly* new tech cell network.

Re:Without really knowing specifics.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38266546)

...Without properly function high resolution gps, all of this falls by the wayside and back to fully manual operations they go...

So, what you are saying is that Senator Grassley is against jobs for Americans...?

Re:Without really knowing specifics.. (4, Funny)

paiute (550198) | more than 2 years ago | (#38266986)

...Without properly function high resolution gps, all of this falls by the wayside and back to fully manual operations they go...

So, what you are saying is that Senator Grassley is against jobs for Americans...?

He meant "fully Manuel operations".

Re:Without really knowing specifics.. (1)

dave87656 (1179347) | more than 2 years ago | (#38277304)

This seems like a reasonable inquiry. However, he's a replublican, and this is slashdot, so can someone enlighten me as to why it isn't? :)

My thoughts exactly. Usually the republicans would be supporting this but the rumor is that support from political parties (not mentioning any names here) might be highly dependent on donations.

Other Motivation? (1)

FuryG3 (113706) | more than 2 years ago | (#38264588)

Why do I get the feeling that there is some motivation (other than lost farming equipment) behind the resistance to the LightSquared network?

Re:Other Motivation? (4, Insightful)

jmac_the_man (1612215) | more than 2 years ago | (#38264634)

Because it says right in the summary that this could mess with GPS, and Grassley wants to make sure it doesn't because GPS is an important piece of military technology?

Re:Other Motivation? (4, Insightful)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 2 years ago | (#38264810)

Because it says right in the summary that this could mess with GPS, and Grassley wants to make sure it doesn't because GPS is an important piece of military technology?

You must not be very familiar with Senator Grassley, or you would not assume a motive unrelated to servicing his donors, specifically in this case big telecom.

Anyway, my understanding is this Lightsquared thing uses unused parts of the spectrum and won't bother GPS. And if it does, it couldn't possibly get FCC approval.

Re:Other Motivation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38265046)

Anyway, my understanding is this Lightsquared thing uses unused parts of the spectrum and won't bother GPS. And if it does, it couldn't possibly get FCC approval.

Hahahaha - you must not remember the old BPL effort just a few years back!

Re:Other Motivation? (4, Informative)

jmac_the_man (1612215) | more than 2 years ago | (#38265430)

Hey, Rat. Long time no see.

Big Time Obama Donors are trying to get approval from the Obama FCC for something that might conflict with GPS. The Big Time Obama Donors are accused of exerting inappropriate political pressure on the FCC. The Republican in charge of FCC oversight wants to hold a hearing to check and make sure that the thing doesn't conflict with GPS (and that the FCC wasn't inappropriately pressured.)

Only a hack can read that and see "Republicans are evil." This is a pretty textbook example of the Legislative Branch acting as a check on the Executive Branch. This is EXACTLY how things are supposed to work.

Re:Other Motivation? (2, Interesting)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 2 years ago | (#38265802)

This is a pretty textbook example of the Legislative Branch acting as a check on the Executive Branch.

Or, it can be seen as a corrupt Republican lawmaker killing an innovative small business at the behest of his big campaign donors.

Which one makes more sense, that the system is actually working the way it's supposed to, or that someone who has been corrupt in the past being corrupt in the present?

Re:Other Motivation? (2)

jmac_the_man (1612215) | more than 2 years ago | (#38267740)

First off, do you have evidence that Grassley is corrupt? Because your normal standard of proof is HURF DURF HE HAS AN R NEXT TO HIS NAME SO OF COURSE HE'S CORRUPT.

There are people who are saying that the LightSquared is corrupt, and they are looking for help from the Obama administration, which is obviously not above corruption itself. Grassley, as the guy whose job it is to look into corruption in this part of the Obama administration, wants to look into it.

GPS has a more legitimate claim to the spectrum than these guys do. If they can co-exist, like the FCC claims they can, then good for them. But if they can't coexist, and the FCC is making these claims because LightSquared is owned by big time Obama donors, then which side in this is corrupt?

Re:Other Motivation? (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 2 years ago | (#38274578)

First off, do you have evidence that Grassley is corrupt?

Yes. His first name is "Senator".

Re:Other Motivation? (1)

Curunir_wolf (588405) | more than 2 years ago | (#38268306)

Which one makes more sense, that the system is actually working the way it's supposed to, or that someone who has been corrupt in the past being corrupt in the present?

Depends on who you're talking about. But it's not just Grassley that's raising questions, he's just the one that decided to make the most political hay out of exposing yet another instance of the Obama administration handing out favors to their supporters. Those involved with LightSquared include:

  1. Obama’s good friend and political donor Donald Gips, his former White House personnel chief, who now serves as U.S. ambassador to South Africa. Records show that Gips maintained an interest, worth as much as $500,000, as the FCC was weighing LightSquared’s request.
  2. Obama himself was an early investor
  3. Investment manager George W. Haywood, an invitee to luxury social events at the White House and more intimate gatherings like a night of poker and beer.
  4. One of Obama's biggest fundraisers, Julius Genachowski, a campaign “bundler” and broadband cheerleader, now chairman of the FCC.
  5. LightSquared’s current majority owner, hedge fund manager Philip Falcone, made large donations to the Democratic Party while his broadband request was pending before the FCC. He and LightSquared executives met with White House officials. Neither Falcone nor the White House would comment on what was discussed.
  6. Ed Rendell, former governor of Pennsylvania and onetime chair of the Democratic National Committee was hired to lobby for LightSquared.
  7. Former House Majority Leader Richard Gephardt's firm has also been hired by LightSquared.
  8. Jeffrey J. Carlisle, the company’s vice president for regulatory affairs, served with Genachowski and Gips on Obama’s transition team.

Grassley's request isn't even trying to influence the FCC's decision, he's just asking that they release information about the application that he's already entitled to receive. It's about the FCC hiding information.

What's wrong with asking for transparency?

Believe it or not, sometimes congressmen really do respond to their constituents [saveourgps.org] .

Re:Other Motivation? (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 2 years ago | (#38274624)

Believe it or not, sometimes congressmen really do respond to their constituents [saveourgps.org].

I don't believe that this is a case of a congressman responding to his constituents. He's responding to his campaign donors.

The constituents can think whatever they want.

Re:Other Motivation? (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 2 years ago | (#38275430)

What's wrong with asking for transparency?

Selectively, I assume.

Why not transparency for all corporate donations? Are you prepared to declare your opposition to the Citizens United decision, and not to vote for any candidate who does not come out against it?

Will you support a constitutional amendment saying that corporations are not people and money is not speech? If not, then you're calls for transparency are little more than another way for you to hate the black guy in the white house.

Obama himself was an early investor

Unless you have found the first truthful bit of news from Hotair, I'm going to wait for some further corroboration on your list of facts.

I know you, wolfy, and I know better than to believe anything you say.

Re:Other Motivation? (1)

Curunir_wolf (588405) | more than 2 years ago | (#38275684)

Why not transparency for all corporate donations?

You mean like this? [opensecrets.org]

Are you prepared to declare your opposition to the Citizens United decision, and not to vote for any candidate who does not come out against it?

Hell no, it was a good decision. I don't like "personhood" for corporations, and they are given far too much deference even without all the favoritism by select politicians, etc. But the Citizens United case was decided the right way, for free speech. Now you can make a movie and release it close to an election, too, and that's how it should be in a free society.

Will you support a constitutional amendment saying that corporations are not people

Something like that, sure.

... and money is not speech?

Money buys media and exposure. Don't we have enough economic tyranny out of Washington already? They've already disposed of real money anyway, and have shoved Federal Reserve notes at us and jail anyone that doesn't use them. What we need more is a Constitution amendment clarifying what sound money is, and that the Federal government should be under the same restrictions on paying its debt that the states are required to follow.

another way for you to hate the black guy in the white house.

Race card? Really? Are all your arguments really that shallow? Here's some news for you: I opposed the policies coming from the White House before there was a black man there, and I still do - they haven't really changed. Same direction, and more power grabs.

Unless you have found the first truthful bit of news from Hotair, I'm going to wait for some further corroboration on your list of facts.

How about the New York Times [nytimes.com] ?

Re:Other Motivation? (5, Informative)

msauve (701917) | more than 2 years ago | (#38266250)

"my understanding is this Lightsquared thing uses unused parts of the spectrum and won't bother GPS. "

Then your understanding would be wrong. Lightsquared wants to set up an LTE network, with nationwide coverage. They would use terrestrial stations transmitting on frequencies immediately adjacent to GPS frequencies. The terrestrial stations would cover areas of dense population, and rural areas would be covered by satellite.

These frequencies were formerly allotted solely to satellite use. Lightsquared got someone at the FCC to do a fast track (public comment period of only 7 business days after announcement, and across Thanksgiving holiday 2010) approval for also using these frequencies terrestrially.

The problem is, terrestrial signals are MUCH closer/stronger than satellite ones, and many/most GPS receivers were designed based on adjacent signals having a satellite-level strength, and therefore are subject to interference from Lightsquared's terrestrial signals.

This isn't so much a political thing (except perhaps how Lightsquared's approval got fast tracked), but a technical one.

Here's something [freegeographytools.com] describing the situation as GPS users see it, and another [gpsworld.com] , which describes the fast tracking which was done:

The FCC turned up its nose at assertions by some that the entire process was conducted in near-stealth mode as well as on an admitted fast-track, filed during a period coinciding with Thanksgiving and winter holidays so that it would pass with little notice. "We conclude that the pleading cycle for LightSquared's request - in which the Comment Public Notice was issued on November 19, 2010, with comments due on December 2, 2010, and reply comments due on December 9, 2010 - is sufficient for the decisions we make herein."

Re:Other Motivation? (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 2 years ago | (#38266462)

Thank you for the clarification. I don't doubt there are technical issues, but Senator Grassley's problem with the nomination of the new FCC chairman has nothing to do with that.

His interest has never been in public good, but in the good of his corporate sponsors. He's one of the few in Congress for whom I assume not one good intention. And there are those from both parties on that list.

Re:Other Motivation? (5, Interesting)

msauve (701917) | more than 2 years ago | (#38266880)

"Senator Grassley's problem with the nomination of the new FCC chairman has nothing to do with that."

Unless he's concerned that the FCC is making decisions based on political pressures, and not unbiased technical data and public input.

Many people aren't aware of the criticality of the GPS system. In addition to the well known consumer navigation products, GPS is a critical part of a lot of other businesses. It's used for syncronizing timing across cell phone towers (and lots of other timing uses), the FAA is working on making GPS a more useful/critical component of aviation, modern surveying depends on GPS accuracy, etc. Specific to a Senator from Iowa, farmers use GPS to auto-navigate their implements to plant and harvest crops. And, of course, there's the military use, which is why it was created in the first place.

Lightsquared got an allocation for satellite frequencies, then a fast track allowance for using them terrestrially, in essence getting very cheap spectrum compared to LTE competitors who paid for spectrum which was always intended for terrestrial use.

Now, they're disingenuously claiming that the fault is in the GPS receivers. Radio devices are designed with filters to block adjacent channel interference. But, there is no perfect filter, and costs increase exponentially as you try to get closer to a sharp "brick wall" cutoff. GPS devices were designed with the understanding that adjacent frequencies were for satellite use (which they were at the time), so they were designed with filters to deal with those signal levels. That's not unreasonable. Lightsquared's terrestrial signals can be expected to be +60 dbm stronger (1,000,000 times the power) than a satellite signal.

Note that complaints about this allowance for Lightsquared are widespread [wikipedia.org] , and not limited to Republicans.

Re:Other Motivation? (1)

PickyH3D (680158) | more than 2 years ago | (#38269520)

Good to know that you can see the forest for the trees.

The number of politicians that should be on that list should exceed the number that are not on it, from both sides. That does not mean that people in positions of power that are generally up-to-no-good are incapable of doing something that you agree with.

It may just mean that their--or their bribers (in the case of the corrupt), or their constituents--interests happen to align with your own this time. Do you always agree with your favorite politician? It's the same thing, but in reverse.

Everything about this deal with the FCC and LightSquared sounds corrupt, so I am more than happy to have anyone looking into it.

Re:Other Motivation? (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 2 years ago | (#38275454)

Everything about this deal with the FCC and LightSquared sounds corrupt, so I am more than happy to have anyone looking into it.

Everything about our economic system is corrupt. Corporations' ability to make unlimited anonymous political donations is corrupt.

We're going to see this stuff constantly until we completely take corporate money out of our political system, via a constitutional amendment. In this, I agree with the Occupy Movement completely.

To add... (1)

msauve (701917) | more than 2 years ago | (#38267744)

Here [stanford.edu] is a recent presentation from the FAA regarding the interference issues, which includes these findings:

Simulation results showed that completion of the Network of highpowered base stations envisioned by LightSquared would result in degradation or loss of GPS function (ranging, position) at standoff distances of a few kilometers extending to space operations
...
Certain applications, even with modification or complete redesign, would still not be able to perform their current mission in the presence of such a Network broadcasting directly adjacent to the GPS L1 band

Re:To add... (3, Interesting)

WilCompute (1155437) | more than 2 years ago | (#38268196)

One problem is that GPS bleeds into the spectrum that LightSqured is supposed to use, due to poor design decisions. The GPS satellites would need to be fixed to prevent usage outside of the range they were supposed to operate in. LightSqured's solution to this is to use half of the bandwidth they were allotted, in order to not interfere with the GPS satellites. They even offered to pay to fix the satellites themselves, in order to solve the problem.

Re:Other Motivation? (3, Informative)

thrich81 (1357561) | more than 2 years ago | (#38268012)

The one thing you left out of your informative post is that Lightsquared bought the radio spectrum it intends to use for cheap because it was restricted to satellite use. If they can convert that to terrestrial use they make a cool 500% profit ($2 billion vs $12 billion according to this link http://www.generalaviationnews.com/2011/10/27/coalition-debunks-claims-by-lightsquared-on-gps-issue/ [generalaviationnews.com] ) on the radio spectrum. Those of us in the casual GPS user community have watched this unfold in disbelief that the FCC would allow something to shut down most of the existing GPS receivers in the country. I at least figured that the FAA and military would step in and put and end to this. Lightsquared must really have some political juice in Washington DC.

Re:Other Motivation? (1)

Hartree (191324) | more than 2 years ago | (#38269268)

"And if it does, it couldn't possibly get FCC approval."

That doesn't follow. The FCC has a history of being pressed into decisions going back to the obsoleting of the old (pre-WW2) FM band. That one also obsoleted a lot of old gear.

https://umdrive.memphis.edu/mbensman/public/stat40.html [memphis.edu]

That was also done at the behest of corporate interests.

I know you don't like Grassley, but his presence on this issue is largely beside the point. You need to check out the technical background on this one, Ratzo.

There are real technical questions about Lightsquared's proposal.

Re:Other Motivation? (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 2 years ago | (#38275390)

I know you don't like Grassley, but his presence on this issue is largely beside the point. You need to check out the technical background on this one, Ratzo.

There are real technical questions about Lightsquared's proposal.

I've looked into it and it looks like you're right, although I'm not prepared to accept that an LTE network is really going to bring down GPS. It's a technical problem, not a political one.

I don't mind the idea of a national wireless network, but would prefer it to be a publicly-funded 3G utility.

We'll have to see how this one shakes out, I guess.

I think a lot of the finger-pointing regarding who the principals in LightSquared gave money to is strictly politically-motivated. If you're an outfit like them, you're going to give money to everybody in power and everybody who might be in power. If we were to disqualify every campaign donor from big projects, there would be no companies eligible. We need to take ALL of the corporate money out of politics to get rid of this kind of stuff, and unfortunately, it's going to take a constitutional amendment. That's been the main issue of the Occupy Wall Street movement., and I agree with those smelly hippies on that point.

Re:Other Motivation? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38266238)

A problem with this is I'm finding when I hear a Republican mention science or technology I don't believe them anymore. I've seen them make so many errors or be "misinformed" so many times that it is like I'm watching "The Republican Cried Wolf". Not to mention how they are with the military. The whole "We must buy these high tech planes that don't work, and when they do our pilots black out!"

Grassley could be 100% right, but you have science, technology and military involved here. There would be Republicans against this network even if it magically amplified GPS levels to plank distances.

Re:Other Motivation? Bull Shit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38278904)

Because it says right in the summary that this could mess with GPS, and Grassley wants to make sure it doesn't because GPS is an important piece of military technology?

Dude you've been drinking the koolaid. Spectrum has buffer zones! LightSquared is even adding its own buffer zone out of their spectrum to be sure there is no cross-talk. If a GPS device has a properly tuned antenna then there is no way there can be cross-talk because of the buffer zone. The ONLY way this spectrum could interfere with GPS is if YOUR GPS device was not built to specs. This is highly unlikely with milspec equipment.

I saw a senator from Georgia on C-Span talking about this and the owner of LightSquared. The CEO from LightSquared gave detailed technical reasons on why his system would not interfere with GPS while all the senator went on and on about "Obama took money from LightSquared!"

I looked up my dear senator (I live in Georgia) and who is HIS biggest campaign contributors? ATT, T-Mobile, Georgia-Carolina Tower and Verision. So he's running his mouth about pay offs when he's been paid to run his mouth.

So Grassley nor Chambliss are concerned about cross-talk of its effect on equipment their only concern is their PAC money. Hell neither have the technical knowledge to even talk with any kind of intelligence about the subject.

Its all about the money!

Re:Other Motivation? Bull Shit (1)

Agripa (139780) | more than 2 years ago | (#38288768)

Dude you've been drinking the koolaid. Spectrum has buffer zones! LightSquared is even adding its own buffer zone out of their spectrum to be sure there is no cross-talk. If a GPS device has a properly tuned antenna then there is no way there can be cross-talk because of the buffer zone. The ONLY way this spectrum could interfere with GPS is if YOUR GPS device was not built to specs. This is highly unlikely with milspec equipment.

The current buffer zone that GPS was designed to operate within is the entire band that LightSquared wants to re-purpose for terrestrial transmission.

Milspec equipment does not have to be built into a hand held portable form factor. The only alternative to a larger form factor is either less sensitivity because of filter losses or insufficient preselection because the filter width is too wide to suppress adjacent terrestrial transmitters when it has to be that physically small.

The FCC GPS receiver specification is part 15 and includes "device must accept interference." Devices up until this time were built with the current RF environment in mind which includes adjacent satellite to ground bands and not terrestrial broadcast bands. I suspect building a receiver able to handle what LighSquared is proposing would require moving away from an integrated direct conversion design to one with less integration and several external IF filters and that is going to be significantly larger.

Its all about the money!

I agree.

Re:Other Motivation? (1)

tgd (2822) | more than 2 years ago | (#38264662)

Hey, don't disregard the risk of losing farm equipment. Tractors are really small, and the corn can easily be as high as an elephant's eye!

Re:Other Motivation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38264686)

Funny. Tractors have higher tech guidance systems than your mom

Re:Other Motivation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38264748)

It's an environmental issue too. Farmers use GPS systems to apply the ideal amount of fertilizer on the right spots in their fields - increasing crop yields while significantly reducing the amount of fertilizer used. This pinpoint accuracy is only possible with the use of GPS systems - systems that "could" be disrupted if Lightsquared goes forward with its plans.

Re:Other Motivation? (1, Troll)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#38264676)

Why do I get the feeling that there is some motivation (other than lost farming equipment) behind the resistance to the LightSquared network?

I checked out Grassley on opensecrets.org

http://www.opensecrets.org/politicians/industries.php?cycle=2012&cid=n00001758&type=I&newmem=N [opensecrets.org]

and he doesn't appear to get much money from telcos. He seems primarily a slave of the medical industrial complex. It could be he's doing a favor for a slave owned by the telcos, in exchange the telco-owned-slave will promote some medical industrial complex ripoff for his owner's interests..

But at least directly, he's not getting involved in something related to his owners interests. Hard to imagine what a Hospital/Nursing Home could care about LightSquared. Big money donors don't like loose cannons, he'd best look out. He's supposed to be devising new ways for healthcare to rip us off, not networking.

Re:Other Motivation? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38265096)

http://www.opensecrets.org/politicians/industries.php?cycle=Career&type=I&cid=N00009638&newMem=N&recs=20 [opensecrets.org]
30 million from the communications sector? *gasp* That's 100 times what Chuck's gotten from the health sector. Why, by your logic there must be an even more immense conspiracy afoot! Oh, wait, that's guilt by association and unfair to Obama. We can only be pranoid over "teh ebil people who have 'R' after their names"

Re:Other Motivation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38265882)

Aww mods, no +1 Insightful/Interesting for the same kind of "informative" post as parent? I even linked to the same site and used the same logic. At least, if the -1 Troll on both posts are from the same mod, then /. still has some hope.

Re:Other Motivation? (5, Interesting)

gavron (1300111) | more than 2 years ago | (#38264684)

LighSquared technology IS IN VIOLATION OF CURRENT FCC RULES and requires an exemption.
LightSquared will mess with GPS for airplanes. (I'm a pilot).
LightSquared will mess with GPS for drivers. (I'm a driver)
LightSquared will remove GPS as being a useful technology in North America. (I'm in North America).

It will put North American users in the dark ages.

That alone is reason enough they should not be given said exemption.

It's only being debated because they have powerful backers.

Blow them all the hell up and improve our country.

E

Re:Other Motivation? (2)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#38264812)

I am unclear on how badly it'll mess up GPSDOs and GPS clocks, which indirectly is a big problem both for the general public and also some of my obscure hobbies. My at work onnet NTP "stratum 1s" are all GPS clocks, which worries me, and at home I'm on the fence about converting my ham radio microwave transverters to GPSDOs. If the GPSDO is going to be unusable "soon" then why bother dropping a couple hundred bucks, may as well buy like 20 Rb clocks and toss them as they burn out. Supposedly Rb clocks start up very fast and survive quite a few power cycles so maybe just go Rb and forget about it, just like old fashioned vacuum tubes are a consumable disposable item. Or invest in a really freaking expensive TCVXO unit although how I'd initially align it is unclear (so once you're within 0.01 ppm of WWV at 10 MHZ ... then what? At 24 GHz that is not good enough short term stability for narrowband digital)

Re:Other Motivation? (5, Informative)

SDrag0n (532175) | more than 2 years ago | (#38264828)

Maybe if GPS manufacturers hadn't disregarded the DOD requirements on GPS, the technology wouldn't mess with your GPS http://m.lightsquared.com/press-room/press-releases/gps-industrys-failure-to-comply-with-department-of-defense/ [lightsquared.com]

Imagine I bought a timeshare for 2 weeks a year and noticed that nobody was using the week after mine and I started planning 3 weeks stays. A few years down the road, somebody else shows up and wants to stay during that third week. What right would I have to be pissed?

Personally, I'm more concerned to find out that it's apparently really easy to knock out military GPS.... It seems like somebody would want to fix that rather than complain about spectrum usage. Just my 2 cents.

Re:Other Motivation? (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 2 years ago | (#38266302)

Imagine I bought a timeshare for 2 weeks a year and noticed that nobody was using the week after mine and I started planning 3 weeks stays. A few years down the road, somebody else shows up and wants to stay during that third week. What right would I have to be pissed?

Except it's more like you bought a timeshare for 2 weeks and have stayed for 15 years.
Personally, I'd call this a combination of "fait accompli" and "adverse possesion"

They can complain about how unfair it all is, but it's been going on for so long,
with no complaint, that there really isn't much to be done about the situation.
The public backlash would be enormous if everyone's GPS devices all stopped working at once.

Re:Other Motivation? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38267528)

Imagine I bought a timeshare for 2 weeks a year and noticed that nobody was using the week after mine and I started planning 3 weeks stays. A few years down the road, somebody else shows up and wants to stay during that third week. What right would I have to be pissed?

It's more like you bought a timeshare for two weeks, and a few years down the road, you learn that someone has bought the condo next to yours and is using it to store manure, complete with smell, seepage, and pest infestation. Yes, you're getting the two weeks that you paid for, but you won't be able to use them for your desired purpose.

Re:Other Motivation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38269544)

This, except the other way around. GPS is the one with the garbage, seepage, and pest infestation. Someone just bought a condo next to them and GPS is complaining that some of their mess might have to be cleaned up.

Re:Other Motivation? (2)

VeriTea (795384) | more than 2 years ago | (#38270392)

Mod this comment up, it is spot-on.

If you follow the wireless industry for a while you see this is a repeat pattern: "Hmm, no one is using the spectrum near what my device will use so I can save a few cents by leaving out the receive filter!"

Garmin has been caught with their pants down and has been desperately trying to spin this as being LightSquared's fault.

Re:Other Motivation? (1)

PickyH3D (680158) | more than 2 years ago | (#38272566)

The DOD has much different requirements than the civilian GPS industry. In fact, as you probably know, the DOD has an entirely different service that provides a much more accurate level of detail called the Precise Positioning Service, whereas civilians have access to the explicitly degraded Standard Positioning Service (SPS). It's hard to say explicitly what LightSquared is talking about because they made no attempt to reference it beyond naming a standard that does not make any such explicit statements that they claim. If there was such a reference, then they would have produced it and silenced the entire industry. Instead, they are pointing at a technical document and hoping to confuse people.

I am no GPS signal expert, but I did track down the referenced DOD, GPS standard here [gps.gov] , published in 2008. It's hard to say what they are referencing with regards to the guard band, considering they conveniently did not provide any references beyond the long, technical document, but it's obvious that they wanted the obfuscation. Have a look at the document, and you'll see why they don't reference anything specifically.

In reality, the FCC screwed the pooch here, and LightSquared is backtracking looking for a way to have their cake and eat it too. There is no legitimate way that someone can look at this entire process and say that is has been clean, or even reasonable. The public was given the opportunity to comment over the week of Thanksgiving. Really?

Acting like this is all because people failed to follow a relatively new standard (2008) is a bigger joke. Whether or not the GPS industry should be doing a better job at filtering the signal is not really my concern at this point. Pointing the finger at everyone else, when the most corrupt person in the room is you, is both scary and pathetic. I hope each one of these corrupt cockroaches is thrown in prison where they belong, and that includes people within the FCC.

Re:Other Motivation? (2, Informative)

dragonhunter21 (1815102) | more than 2 years ago | (#38264842)

They're doing some crazy testing to make sure that it won't interfere. They're not going to deploy a technology that could take down the entire US without making damn sure it won't. Besides, Garmin's guys are the ones saying it'll mess everything up- testing sponsored by LightSquared shows that is has a small effect, if any. I don't think they'd bias the tests- most of those labs, if not all, are good labs.

Re:Other Motivation? (3, Interesting)

gavron (1300111) | more than 2 years ago | (#38265120)

LOL. No, the testing was done by lots of people. I'd post a link but I don't want to insult your intelligence by making it a google search. (Yes, there are LOTS of research results.)

LightSquared interferes with most commercially viable GPS receivers.

Could GPS manufacturers have made their products less sensitive (e.g. "WORSE") and be more immune to being totally decimated by this? Sure. The big win is that GPS manufacturers worked to get us good tech. LightSquared has nothing new to offer, but would eliminate GPS in the process.

Sorry, as much as I'm a fan of new technology, GPS trumps Yet Another Wireless Provider Panacea.

Cheers,

E

Re:Other Motivation? (2, Informative)

advocate_one (662832) | more than 2 years ago | (#38265586)

LightSquared interferes with most commercially viable GPS receivers.

By commercially viable you really mean cheapskates who failed to implement the recommended guidelines because it would have increased the component count and cost and are now screaming foul because their own devices cannot block out the adjacent band transmission because they failed to implement the proper rejection into their devices...

Re:Other Motivation? (1)

wolrahnaes (632574) | more than 2 years ago | (#38266024)

Does it matter at this point? Millions of those GPS receivers are out there. Yes they did it wrong, but that's in the past already. Anyone who did it wrong and especially anyone still doing it wrong needs a good smack, but consumers who bought that hardware had absolutely no way to know and it's a hard thing to argue that we should be in favor of significantly impacting their functionality.

Re:Other Motivation? (5, Informative)

bwalzer (708512) | more than 2 years ago | (#38266444)

Er, no. There is an actual technical issue here. If you make a passive filter with sharper skirts you end up with more loss to the desired signal. GPS (like all things that transmit from space) is quite power limited. As a result the signal is just above the noise (pretty much all downlinks). So just adding a better filter in front of the receiver will significantly degrade things.

There is stuff that you can do here but it would be expensive and possibly power hungry (some GPS receivers have to run off of batteries).

Normally this issue is resolved by placing guard bands around downlink bands where terrestrial transmitters are not allowed. By not doing this in a reasonable way, the FCC has simply messed up.

Re:Other Motivation? (5, Insightful)

davros74 (194914) | more than 2 years ago | (#38266842)

Wish I mod points. This is the crux of the entire problem. These satellite downlink frequencies were originally setup by the FCC for only that use. Now that the FCC messed up and allowed this to proceed we have a completely different ballgame - satellite downlink frequencies being transmitted at terrestrial locations and high power levels, but the existing receiving equipment (some 10-15 years old), is supposed to continue to work in an environment like this?

Existing receivers do not expect that kind of high power/close neighbor interfence because A> to have to filter it would reduce the received signal and sensitivity anyway (lower performance), B> any such filtering would be more expensive (power and cost), C> no filtering is required since the FCC already made sure no one would be swamping the signal by effectively keeping this area of spectrum "quiet" (or at least the received signals are all at similar power levels with sufficient guard bands).

There are other frequencies and better receivers, but these are not your cheapo handheld battery powered GPS receivers. So while technical solutions might be found going forward, the real problem is that most of the commercial GPS equipment will basically stop working - so who should pay to replace everyone's GPS (from handheld's, to in car units, iPhone's, etc)??

Re:Other Motivation? (1)

Jeffrey_Walsh VA (1335967) | more than 2 years ago | (#38267112)

Is it possible that Garmin and others will benefit from their older devices not working well in the near future as we will have to upgrade? And they can lay the blame with someone else. Maybe they're not as unhappy about this as they would have us believe. I seem to recall hearing that the GPS system we use now is being depricated. Sats are failing, and the military is not replacing them, but they have a new better system on the way.

Re:Other Motivation? (1)

elsurexiste (1758620) | more than 2 years ago | (#38265940)

If you had shared those links, insulting everyone's intelligence, actually you would've been moderated +5 Informative. ;)

Re:Other Motivation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38266084)

With this, if the GPS goes out you can just Google your location.

Re:Other Motivation? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38265910)

I'm a {bunch of stuff that doesn't include engineer or something indicating you know anything about the technical issues involved}.

And no one cares. You say with all of the certainty in the world that LightSquared will mess with this and that, but offer absolutely not supporting proof. I haven't seen any actual evidence of what you're saying, only bickering between LightSquared and the GPS camps. No real testing or data from some sort of 3rd party. Yes, LightSquared requires an exemption, but, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LightSquared:

In order to resolve GPS interference concerns the FCC has established a working group composed of NTIA, other Federal agencies, the GPS community, and LightSquared to fully examine the potential for interference. LightSquared has agreed that this process must be completed to the FCC’s satisfaction before the company will offer commercial service.

This sounds fair to me.

Re:Other Motivation? (2)

uufnord (999299) | more than 2 years ago | (#38266326)

Here are a few things that will make you seem like a sane human being instead of a loud-mouth idiot. First, TYPING IN CAPS IS OFTEN CONSIDERED YELLING, and when you type IN CAPS something as inconsistent as what you typed, then you seem, well, idiotic. If they were granted an exemption by the FCC (or a conditional waiver, whatever the case may be), then they're not in violation of current FCC rules. They can't be both at once, and the FCC granted their conditional waiver in January. They would be in violation of Section 25.149(b)(4) were they not granted the waiver.

Second, hyperbole like "GPS [will be removed] as a useful technology in North America" or "It will put North American users in the dark ages" often works well on political forums, but Slashdot is a technical forum, and this kind of thing should be left to the politicians. The truth appears to be that the tests requested by the FCC indicate that 99.5% of the GPS devices on the market are compatible with the technology and will be unaffected, and the remaining .5% of the potential interference issues have been mitigated by the GPS manufacturers**. LightSquared intends to use a frequency that is 23MHz lower than the GPS frequencies for their initial roll-out, in response to the GPS interference concerns. It would appear the LightSquared is doing their best to avoid any interference with GPS. (**Note that there is good reason to doubt these numbers, since they come from LightSquared themselves, but your hyperbole is still bizarre and unwarranted.)

Third, your request to "blow them the hell up" could be considered a violent threat, which I would advise against doing on a public forum. People may get the wrong impression, and think that you are a violent psychopath, instead of just a bumbling idiot.

Finally, the "powerful backers" you mentioned probably refer to someone named Phil Falcone from Harbinger Capital. The narrative that is being pushed by some congressional republicans is that Phil Falcone gave money to the Obama campaign, so there is a possible impropriety. Again, the truth appears to be that "Falcone has contributed $50,500 to Democrats since 2007. He’s also contributed $85,500 to Republicans since 2007." (that's from the Washington Post, which don't recommend believing, but those are the numbers being touted.) Also, Falcone is alleged to be a registered republican, and he has never donated to the Obama campaign, according to the Federal Election Commission.

So, personally, I think there is good cause to investigate the technical issues being brought forth by LightSquared , but this push for investigation appears to a politically motivated. IMO, you appear to be a shill, and not a human being after all.

As an aside, Phil Falcone sounds like a character from Harvey Birdman. Just say'in.

Re:Other Motivation? (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 2 years ago | (#38270660)

I'm sad to see that this comment sits in the wasteland at a score of 1. It should be modded up as informative.

I'm going to repeat the single piece of info in your post that should have the most attention, IMO:

The article summary calls Falcone a "Democratic donor" but neglects to mention that he gives more to Republicans than Democrats.

Someone please mod parent up.

Re:Other Motivation? (1)

grumpygrodyguy (603716) | more than 2 years ago | (#38267294)

I'd gladly give up GPS (not that we'd have to) for actual broadband competition in this country.

The cable/telecom monopolies in this country are among the most corrupt and egregious offenders.

Re:Other Motivation? (1)

gavron (1300111) | more than 2 years ago | (#38267876)

I'd gladly give you up and the other traitors who don't care that we have laws about frequency spectra, transmission, and being able to FIND WHERE YOU ARE, SEARCH AND RESCUE, GET PLANES ON RUNWAYS (I'm a helicopter pilot), AND FIND THINGS,

for actual nothing. We already have these.

You want broadband competition? That's a good goal too. It's possible to get that without sacrificing the above.

Just like TSA doesn't equal heightened security, only heightened hassle, giving up the GPS frequencies doesn't equal broadband competition. It only equals heightened hassle.

Broadband competition - good.
GPS - good.
LightSquared raping one for not providing the other - bad.

E

Re:Other Motivation? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38277040)

'Traitors?' Good grief, boy, shove the hyperbole out the window! Yes, we need to keep control over the spectrum, but 'traitors?' really?

No, don't bother trying to explain it. It's stupid. You should be ashamed of yourself. Save your calls of 'traitors' for people who are betraying their country to enemy powers or inciting rebellion, not people who don't share your views of spectrum priority, no matter how important GPS is and how LightSquared should go for some other band.

Seriously, what the hell, did Radio Caroline piss in your Cheerios sometime last century?

Re:Other Motivation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38277810)

This is Hyperbole, nothing like this is of the sort. Lightsquared isn't worried about the upper-band frequencies adjacent to the GPS signals, this is for the lower bandwidth that have nothing to do with what you listed.

Use Google and educate yourself.

Re:Other Motivation? (5, Interesting)

Charliemopps (1157495) | more than 2 years ago | (#38265432)

It's not "lost" farming equipment. Farmers and industrial equipment use this tech to do things like level a field to within a 1/4" I watched a large D8 bulldozer that had a blade guided by one of these systems put a grade on a plot that was exactly 1" lower at one end than the other. This was important for the crop being planted there because they wanted very slow runoff without any pooling etc... It was amazing to watch really. If farmers lost systems like this it would have an impact, not only on their yields, but also on the amount of water, fertilizer, seed, even gasoline they'd use. It'd be bad for us all.

Re:Other Motivation? (1, Funny)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 2 years ago | (#38268244)

Simple answer to the employment crisis as well as what to do with all those people streaming over the border from Mexico and points south: more hand labor, less mechanized farming.

Get more people out in the fields and we will all be better off. It was good enough 2000 years ago, it should be good enough today.

Re:Other Motivation? (1)

msauve (701917) | more than 2 years ago | (#38270646)

"It was good enough 2000 years ago, it should be good enough today."

So, no GPS or Lightsquared LTE, is that your point?

Process (5, Interesting)

necro81 (917438) | more than 2 years ago | (#38264664)

One thing that so many don't realize about the U.S. Congress, and particularly the Senate, is that so much of the bullshit that goes on has nothing to do with their constitutional duties to craft, debate, and revise legislation, but rather to the skirting and enforcing of procedural rules. I'm not talking about overly-civilized stuff like Robert's Rules of Order that keep everyone from shouting at the same time. These are rules that, for instance, allow a single disgruntled Senator to completely uphold the nomination process - such as this case. Sometimes the Senator has demands for such and such information (which may be valid), but usually it is just a veil for quid pro quo. Most egregious of these procedures is the anonymous hold [wikipedia.org] , which allows otherwise qualified candidates to have their nomination in limbo, indefinitely, at the whim of some Senator so craven they won't even dignify their objection in public. The Senate is authorized to advise and consent on executive nominations, not to hide in the corner and pout like children.

Re:Process (3, Interesting)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 2 years ago | (#38264716)

I would not mind the anonymous holds if they had a one-time, limited length (let's say someone is nominated and a Senator has heard a rumor about something inappropriate in that nominee's background that would be fairly significant for the post, but is somewhat farfetched. The Senator wants a little time--say 30 days--to find out if there is anything to the allegation before going on record opposing the nominee).

Re:Process (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38264746)

Gee - I do realize it - it is the way the system works, and the system is in place so that a single senator CAN make a difference, as opposed to the House rules which are set up on a majority basis. It comes from the intended different roles of the two bodies. The House is for the people, the Senate represents the states. The senate is structured so that small states can have equal power to big states. Rhode Island has a much power in the Senate as California does.

Get off your high horse and learn why the two bodies behave differently!

In this case, the Senator is operating within his constitutional discretion and demanding a Federal agency answer his "right and proper" exercise of authority over the body. They refuse to answer his questions, and he pulls one of the few strings he can as an individual senator to get the agency to respond.

Federal agency DO commit coverups - See the recent release of "Fast and Furious" information last Friday where Justice actually admitted that they lied to Congress.

Representative government is a messy business. When the "checks and balances" are operating - someone's head might get whacked!

Re:Process (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 2 years ago | (#38270832)

Your concept that the Senate and House have different rules because they have different purposes is partially correct.

However, the statement

The House is for the people, the Senate represents the states.

is false.

The House and the Senate are both intended to represent both people and states (keep in mind that states are proxies for the people in those states) . The reason they apportion their membership differently is because there was a compromise between the populous states and the smaller states when the Constitution was being drafted. It has absoutely nothing to do with who/what they are intended to represent.

The ONLY time we get good government... (3, Insightful)

Vitriol+Angst (458300) | more than 2 years ago | (#38265054)

... is when the goals of the sponsors coincide.

In this case, LightSquared might be taking bandwidth away from Ad Hoc wireless networks -- of course Grassley is concerned about his military backers and their precession GPS -- likely because Drones given to police stations are going to need to accurately pinpoint hippies in a crowd to drop payloads of Pepper Gas on.

>> Either way; I'd much prefer that a bunch of people started using WiMax and creating a self-organizing Internet of our own. Come on SlashDot - we are just the geeky anarchists to get it done!

Not enough (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38266090)

"Drones given to police stations are going to need to accurately pinpoint hippies in a crowd to drop payloads of Pepper Gas on."

Can only make them smell better, and probably sharpen their reasoning skills to boot.

don't tase me bro! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38267336)

This lack of empathy and the abuse of "non-lethal" force disgusts me.

I hope OWS teargases the superbowl, you uncivil motherfucker.

Re:The ONLY time we get good government... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38267510)

Military GPS will be fine; they're not the ones who cheaped out on filtering components to save a couple bucks per-unit on hardware. It's civilian GPS that doesn't follow the damn spec and will get hit by this.

Re:The ONLY time we get good government... (1)

Agripa (139780) | more than 2 years ago | (#38288730)

Military GPS will be fine; they're not the ones who cheaped out on filtering components to save a couple bucks per-unit on hardware. It's civilian GPS that doesn't follow the damn spec and will get hit by this.

The RF filtering components in this case do not exist in a hand held form factor because engineering does not work that way. US policy enforced by ITAR is for civilian GPS receivers to be deliberately easy to jam.

The issue at hand (5, Informative)

dtmos (447842) | more than 2 years ago | (#38265292)

The issue at hand [wikipedia.org] is that Lightsquared plans to place strong, satellite-based signals very close in frequency to that of the GPS system -- specifically, signals at 1526-1536 MHz (initially; although Lightsquared has rights to 1525-1559 MHz) that will be 60 dB stronger on the Earth's surface than the GPS L1 signals [wikipedia.org] at 1575.42 MHz.

Since GPS signals are so weak (-130 to -150 dBm at the receive antenna terminals), most GPS receivers have minimal RF filtering, to avoid the insertion loss of the filters and thereby optimize GPS receiver sensitivity. Recognizing that GPS receivers do not have sharp selectivity, for decades it has been national policy (as well as good engineering practice) not to place strong signals near the GPS frequencies. This change in policy is the issue at hand.

Technically, the problem with the Lightsquared proposal is, even if the Lightsquared guys put lots of filtering on their transmitter, so that it is spectrally clean and has substantially no energy at the GPS frequency itself, the millions of existing GPS receivers already in the field will be unable to receive the desired L1 signal in the presence of the strong undesired Lightsquared signal, due to their limited filtering and dynamic range -- and, short of replacing every GPS receiver in the country, there's nothing Lightsquared can do about that.

Why Lightsquared thinks this scheme will work, and they won't be vilified in the press once GPS problems crop up, is something for the psychologists and sociologists to ponder.

Re:The issue at hand (1)

jdgeorge (18767) | more than 2 years ago | (#38265494)

Why Lightsquared thinks this scheme will work, and they won't be vilified in the press once GPS problems crop up, is something for the psychologists and sociologists to ponder.

Perhaps the bankers and economists would understand their motivation better than the psychologists and sociologists, then.

Re:The issue at hand (1)

dtmos (447842) | more than 2 years ago | (#38265850)

Perhaps the bankers and economists would understand their motivation better than the psychologists and sociologists, then.

. . . but nobody will make any money if they spend $billions to put the satellites in orbit, and the network is a flop; one needs reliable revenue over many years to repay the cost invested in a satellite system (just ask the Iridium guys at Motorola).

Re:The issue at hand (4, Informative)

queazocotal (915608) | more than 2 years ago | (#38266100)

http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/generic/story.jsp?id=news/awx/2011/06/09/awx_06_09_2011_p0-334122.xmlheadline=LightSquared%20Tests%20Confirm%20GPS%20Jamming&channel=busav [aviationweek.com]
"Simulations conducted by aviation standards developer RTCA for the FAA concluded 'GPS is likely to be unavailable over the who
le US East Coast' based on LightSquared's deployment plans, Robert Frazier, of the FAAs spectrum planning and international office, told the meeting."

This is a fairly reasonable question to raise.

To put the above numbers in context,
Each GPS satellite transmits less power than one of the ground-stations.
And it has to cover a whole hemisphere of the earth.
There don't really exist filters good enough to overcome that disparity.

Re:The issue at hand (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38277842)

Welcome to last decade. You need to educate yourself and stop trying to make assumptions while reading a silly GPS article from aviationweek. I mean do you listen to Rush Limbaugh to get republican news as well? Geeez

GOOGLE and educate yourself to NON BIASED ARTICLES.

Re:The issue at hand (1)

Agripa (139780) | more than 2 years ago | (#38288702)

There don't really exist filters good enough to overcome that disparity.

To just to expand on this, the necessary filters do exist but will not fit inside of a handheld form factor without an unacceptable loss in sensitivity or out of band rejection. Duplexers used in cell phones for example are at least 5 times too wide. There are good technical reasons to separate satellite down-link bands from local terrestrial broadcast bands. Someone at the FCC was smoking crack, unqualified, or bought and payed for when they originally approved this.

The one caveat with the above is that the integrated direct conversion receivers that are popular for cost reasons in consumer GPS receivers (and WiFi receivers) have atrocious dynamic range so I can not rule out the possibility that a better receiver topology might work well enough but that is a hell of a lot more than just a filter upgrade. I am tickled pink however that ITAR requirements discourage producing interference resistant GPS receivers so in a way we deserve it if they fail.

Re:The issue at hand (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38266186)

Geez, that makes sense!

LightSquared? NO THANKS! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38265370)

I don't even understand how it's possible for FCC to allow this network. Using worldwide satellite downlink band for ground comunications is
waste of bandwidth that was preciously selected and kept clean all around the world. All other companies that use it like Inmarsat,
Iridium and many differential GPS service will suddenly be jammed by someone else providing same service... isn't that great for competition?

Anything (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38265820)

To stand in the way of job creation thats for sure.
Anything to got the black gut out.

Failz9ors!? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38266966)

The curtai85 flew

GPS signal uses (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38267156)

aren't limited to getting you to Grandma's house. Or directing military devices.

Farmers use them to direct their tractors for planting and harvesting. I think an Iowa Senator might have a legitimate interest in something that could affect the farming in his state.

And I use the signals to plot my way around a new golf course.

I figure my family has about $1400 tied up in GPS receiver technology of some sort.

Who is LightSquared anyway? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38268418)

If you check the facts, you will find out that the CEO of LightSquared, Sanjiv Ahuja is an islamist and has an axe to grind with the USA.
The GPS constellation is a national asset, a national treasure, and any attack on it is an attack on the sovereign territory of the USA, and it's people.
Sounds like a declaration of war to me.

GPS? (1)

tchall (1146319) | more than 2 years ago | (#38276338)

Living in an area where people die withing a few miles of a road every year the idea that GPS systems might be affected is enough to make me want to know a LOT more before something like this is put out in the field...

The "Power Line Carrier" stuff was only good for wiping all LF, and HF communications for miles... using the power lines as HUGE antennas for those bands...

The FCC has had a poor track record on unintended consequences in naming secondary users, or allowing commercial exploitation of frequencies already assigned to other services.

if it wasn't then, it sure is now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38276672)

So, to sum up, a Republican is defending farmers and the military from a bunch of rogue technologists in league with a giant Democratic hedge fund and a job-killing government overregulator?

Either Grassley is pulling a political trick for political reasons, or his opponents are trying to make it seem that he is playing politics. There's just a few too many political hot-buttons in this scenario to be naturally-occurring.

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