Saturday, January 20, 2018
Business

FCC halts plans for LightSquared's high-speed wireless network

NEW YORK — Federal officials plan to kill a proposal to build a new national high-speed wireless network after concluding that in some cases it would jam personal-navigation and other Global Positioning System devices.

The Federal Communications Commission sought comments Wednesday on revoking LightSquared's permit after the federal National Telecommunications and Information Administration, an agency that coordinates wireless signals, concluded that there's no way to eliminate the risk of interference with GPS devices.

The FCC had seen LightSquared's proposal as a way to make more airwaves available to feed consumers' appetites for movies, music and games on a variety of mobile devices.

Makers of GPS devices and those who rely on them feared GPS signals would suffer the way a radio station can get drowned out by a stronger broadcast on a nearby channel.

The problem is that high-power signals from as many as 40,000 LightSquared transmitters on the ground could overwhelm sensitive GPS receivers designed to pick up relatively weak signals from space. LightSquared planned to transmit on a frequency adjacent to that used by GPS.

When the FCC gave tentative approval last year to build the network, it said the company wouldn't be allowed to start operations until the government was satisfied that any problems were addressed. LightSquared and the FCC had insisted the new network could coexist with GPS systems.

After government and industry groups conducted tests, the NTIA said Tuesday that it found interference with dozens of personal-navigation devices and aircraft-control systems that rely on GPS.

The agency said that new technology in the future might mitigate the problems, but it would take time and money to replace GPS equipment already used extensively in the United States. The NTIA also said adjustments to LightSquared's network could cost billions of dollars and might not solve all problems.

LightSquared, based in Reston, Va., chastised the FCC for withdrawing approval after the company had already spent nearly $4 billion.

"There can be no more devastating blow to private industry and confidence in the consistency of the FCC's decisionmaking process," said Sanjiv Ahuja, chairman and CEO of LightSquared.

Ahuja said the company still believed in finding a working solution "if all the parties have that same level of commitment."

The FCC said it was accepting public comments on its revocation plans until March 1.

LightSquared had hoped to compete nationally with fast fourth-generation wireless services from AT&T, Verizon Wireless and other traditional wireless companies. It hadn't planned to sell directly to consumers. Rather, it would have provided network access to companies including Leap Wireless, parent of Cricket phone service, and Best Buy, which planned to rebrand the service under its own name.

Comments
Inspector General launches investigation into Tampa Bay’s local career centers

Inspector General launches investigation into Tampa Bay’s local career centers

The state has opened an investigation into CareerSource Pinellas and CareerSource Tampa Bay, days after the Tampa Bay Times asked about whether the two regional job centers were inflating the number of people they had helped get hired. The agencies, ...
Published: 01/19/18
Tech firm TranferWise moves to Ybor City, illustrating a new chapter in Tampa’s business history

Tech firm TranferWise moves to Ybor City, illustrating a new chapter in Tampa’s business history

TAMPA — You could sketch an economic history of the city of Tampa — and maybe get a glimpse of its future — just by looking at the old J. Seidenberg & Co./Havana-American Cigar Factory.It opened in 1894, making it Ybor City’s second-oldest brick ciga...
Published: 01/19/18

Want to buy into an exchanged-traded bitcoin fund? You might have a long wait

NEW YORK — It may be a while, if ever, before investors can buy an exchange-traded fund made up of bitcoin and other digital currencies. Federal regulators have a long list of questions they want answered before they’ll approve a digital currency fun...
Published: 01/19/18
Child psychologist weighs in on mom who charges 5-year-old ‘rent’

Child psychologist weighs in on mom who charges 5-year-old ‘rent’

A Georgia mother has gone viral for charging her 5-year-old "rent." Yup — the kid pays up for food, water, cable and electric, too.Essense Evans described in a Facebook post how she handles her daughter’s allowance. The post, written on Saturday, was...
Published: 01/19/18

Addicted to your smartphone? Now there’s an app for that

Did you text? Sorry, I can’t see messages right now. Arianna Huffington locked my phone.The media tycoon turned wellness entrepreneur wants to keep you out of your phone, too, with a new app called Thrive. Its goal is to make it cool for a generation...
Published: 01/19/18
Proposed monument near St. Pete pier would honor Tony Jannus history-making flight

Proposed monument near St. Pete pier would honor Tony Jannus history-making flight

ST. PETERSBURG — Tony Jannus’s history-making flight in an early seaplane — simultaneously as ungainly and graceful as a pelican on the wing — is what Mayor Rick Kriseman calls an "under-told and under-appreciated" story, but a team of local history ...
Published: 01/19/18
Learn how bus rapid transit (and rail) could work in Tampa Bay

Learn how bus rapid transit (and rail) could work in Tampa Bay

ST. PETERSBURG — The newest hope for transportation in the Tampa Bay area is a bus rapid transit system projected to cover the 41-miles separating St. Petersburg from Wesley Chapel and attract 4,500 new riders at a fraction of the cost of light rail....
Published: 01/19/18
Five things Tampa Bay needs to know about bus rapid transit

Five things Tampa Bay needs to know about bus rapid transit

ST. PETERSBURG — Transportation planners on Friday unveiled a new transit vision for Tampa Bay leaders on Friday morning: Bus rapid transit.Also known as BRT, it has arisen as the leading option in an ongoing study to find the best regional transit p...
Published: 01/19/18
Amazon boosts monthly Prime membership fees by 20 percent

Amazon boosts monthly Prime membership fees by 20 percent

NEW YORK — Amazon is raising the price of its Prime membership monthly plan by nearly 20 percent. The fee of $99 for an annual membership will not change, the company said Friday. The online retailer had added the monthly payment option about two yea...
Published: 01/19/18
Cuba’s tourism is booming despite Trump’s tougher policy

Cuba’s tourism is booming despite Trump’s tougher policy

HAVANA — On a sweltering early summer afternoon in Miami’s Little Havana, President Donald Trump told a cheering Cuban-American crowd that he was rolling back some of Barack Obama’s opening to Cuba in order to starve the island’s military-run economy...
Published: 01/19/18