Saturday, October 29, 2011

LightSquared not such a bright idea

Written by Coalition to Save Our GPS    
Thursday, 27 October 2011

Misstatements hide $10 billion spectrum windfall at expense of taxpayers; LightSquared shirks its responsibility for the billions its plans would cost governments and consumers

Summary: LightSquared repeatedly misstates and rewrites history in order to try to push through its ill-conceived plan to repurpose mobile satellite spectrum (MSS) to build a nationwide terrestrial network. It’s using legal double speak to hide a $10 billion spectrum windfall  – money that should be going to U.S. taxpayers. And, it’s offering up just a pittance towards the billions it would cost federal, state and local governments, as well as consumers, if its plans are allowed to go forward.

LightSquared’s Attempts to Rewrite History: LightSquared has time and again repeated its self-serving claim that it has been authorized for years to build its recently proposed nationwide terrestrial network, and that this alleged prior authorization shifts the burden of avoiding interference to GPS manufacturers and users.  One of many examples is this August 2011, LightSquared statement:
“The public record shows that the Commission first approved rules allowing terrestrial operations in the L-band in 2003. LightSquared received its authorization to conduct terrestrial operations in 2004. LightSquared has had the legal right to build the network it is building today – with the same number of towers and power levels – since 2005. The interference at issue today arises because of sensitivity of GPS receivers to LightSquared’s base stations, operating at the power level authorized in 2005.”

LightSquared’s assertion is flat out wrong. It completely ignores clear statements in prior FCC decisions and rules. In fact:

  • LightSquared has never had the legal right to build a nationwide terrestrial network in the satellite MSS band.

  • If the FCC had granted rights to use this spectrum for nationwide, terrestrial-only wireless services, it would have been required by law to auction those rights to the highest bidder.
What LightSquared is really trying to do here is rewrite history so that it receives a massive increase in the value of its spectrum over what it paid for it and shift the costs of eliminating interference to GPS users, including federal, state and local governments, and GPS manufacturers.

The Real FCC History and Facts:

  • Prior FCC decisions – including the ones that LightSquared seeks to rely on for its claim of “legal right” – made absolutely clear that MSS licenses could not offer the kind of stand-alone terrestrial services that LightSquared has now proposed and the FCC’s International Bureau (IB) conditionally approved.   As early as 2003, the FCC stated categorically that “[w]e do not intend, nor will we permit, the terrestrial component to become a stand-alone service.”[i]

  • MSS licensees in the L-band, including LightSquared, have long been on full notice that the FCC would take further action to protect GPS if interference issues arose.  In the same 2005 order that LightSquared says approved its plans, the FCC committed to take actions necessary to “ensure that all FCC services provide adequate protection to GPS.”[ii]  Given this commitment and the clear language of the FCC’s rules, LightSquared could not reasonably rely on these decisions as authorizing nationwide terrestrial use and a shift of the burden of interference to GPS users.

  • As recently as the 2010 National Broadband Plan, the FCC reiterated the limited nature of permitted terrestrial operations in the MSS spectrum – these only included operations to fill-in the satellite service footprint.  The FCC explained that “[t]he ATC [ancillary terrestrial component] rules allow MSS providers to deploy terrestrial networks to enhance coverage in areas where the satellite signal is attenuated or unavailable” and that “MSS licensees must integrate MSS and ATC services, including, notably, a requirement that all ATC handsets must have a satellite communications capability.”[iii]

  • When the FCC’s IB conditionally permitted LightSquared to provide stand-alone terrestrial services in January 2011, it rejected LightSquared’s claim that it already had the authority to do so.  Instead, the IB waived the “integrate MSS and ATC services” rules in order to grant LightSquared’s conditional approval.

  • The International Bureau’s January 2011 conditional order, by waiving restrictions on terrestrial use of the MSS band, also exposed GPS users to massive interference.

  • LightSquared has repeatedly claimed that the January 2011 waiver decision had “nothing to do with interference.”  But nothing could be further from the truth.

  • By requiring an MSS licensee to integrate any terrestrial offering with its satellite service, the ATC rules effectively require the licensee to operate the terrestrial component in a manner that does not interfere with the satellite component.  This “self-correcting” mechanism provided strong protections to GPS satellite services in the adjacent spectrum.  This is why NTIA told the FCC in January 2011 that LightSquared’s November 2010 proposal, which for the first time proposed terrestrial-only services and use of terrestrial-only handsets, presented a “new interference environment” for GPS.[iv]  The FCC’s January 2011 waiver order removed these practical protections, but still required that LightSquared demonstrate non-interference to GPS.

  • LightSquared’s license was – and remains – subject to a general FCC rule that MSS terrestrial operations are not permitted to cause interference to other services, including GPS, and that LightSquared is obligated to cure any such interference.[v]  LightSquared’s contention that GPS users are somehow responsible for mitigating the interference that LightSquared would create is false.  It has no legal right to commence interfering operations or shift the burden of curing interference to GPS users.

Massive Spectrum Giveaway: There are many motivations for LightSquared to seek to rewrite history. One of the less obvious reasons is that if its rewrite of history is accepted as fact and its plans go forward, LightSquared would receive a massive $10 billion increase in the value of its spectrum.

  • Because of these restrictions limiting terrestrial use, the value of the MSS spectrum held by LightSquared’s predecessor was much lower than the value of other spectrum – such as Advanced Wireless Service spectrum – in which ubiquitous, terrestrial-only   use was permitted.

  • The FCC’s National Broadband Plan recognized that granting terrestrial authority would “step up” spectrum values. And LightSquared’s own consultants, the Brattle Group, this year estimated that LightSquared’s mobile satellite spectrum is worth $12 billion if it could be used for unrestricted terrestrial mobile broadband use, but only $2 billion if limited to satellite uses.[vi]

  • LightSquared said that it paid approximately $2 billion for its MSS spectrum rights.  So, all sophisticated market participants understood that LightSquared was not authorized to use the MSS spectrum for nationwide terrestrial use in 2005 or even 2010, when Harbinger Capital Partners, which controls LightSquared, bought out the company’s predecessor.

  • If allowed to go forward, LightSquared gets to pocket the $10 billion increase in spectrum value that would result.  Again, it’s important to note that the FCC relied on the extensive restrictions on MSS described in the above “The Real FCC History and Facts” to avoid auctioning terrestrial rights when it authorized “ancillary terrestrial” operations in this spectrum in 2003.[vii]

  • LightSquared should not be allowed to use this legal double speak to enjoy massive unjust enrichment while harming GPS users.

Drain on U.S. Treasury: The massive replacement costs for federal government GPS equipment and systems that would be caused by LightSquared’s plans would create a major drain on the U.S. Treasury.  LightSquared is shirking its financial responsibilities, relying on its bogus claim of “legal rights” to terrestrial use to argue that GPS users and manufacturers should pay the bill for eliminating interference.

  • LightSquared admits that even under its latest revised plans, hundreds of thousands of high precision GPS receivers used by government and private users would suffer interference.  But it has offered only a pittance, $50 million, to replace or retrofit affected equipment.   And, it is yet to be proven that LightSquared will not also interfere with hundreds of millions of consumer GPS devices, which is why NTIA and the FCC recently called for more testing.

  • The head of the Air Force Space Command, Gen. William Shelton, testified at a September 15, 2011 House Armed Services Subcommittee hearing that it would be safe to say that if LightSquared is allowed to proceed with its plans the cost just to the Department of Defense to address interference from the LightSquared network “would be in the b’s – billions of dollars.”

  • Add to that the cost of replacing many more billions worth of GPS equipment owned by other federal, state and local government users, as well as businesses, farmers and consumers that would be harmed by LightSquared’s plans.

Massive Federal Government Costs: The costs of replacing GPS in federal government uses could be in the range of $245 billion if LightSquared’s plans go forward, a sampling of department and agency impact assessments shows. And that figure does not include any estimates from heavy government users of GPS such as the Departments of Homeland Security, Agriculture and Energy.

The documents paint a vivid picture of how widespread and engrained the use of GPS, particularly high-precision GPS, is in the federal government and lends insight into the massive nature of the potential costs and disruptions of critical federal government services.  Excerpts of the impact assessments and testimony about the cost of replacing GPS devices and infrastructure in the federal government are available at the Coalition’s website here.

Bottom Line:  All in all, LightSquared’s proposal represents a new low in financial engineering at the expense of the U.S. taxpayer.  Never before has a single company tried to gain so much from our national spectrum resources and pay so little for the collateral damage caused by its plans.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

[i]         Flexibility for Delivery of Communications by Mobile Satellite Service Providers in the 2 GHz Band, the L-Band, and the 1.6/2.4 GHz Bands; Review of the Spectrum Sharing Plan Among Non-Geostationary Satellite Orbit Mobile Satellite Service Systems in the 1.6/2.4 GHz Bands, Report and Order and Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 18 FCC Rcd 1962, ¶1 (2003).
[ii]        Flexibility for Delivery of Communications by Mobile Satellite Service Providers in the 2 GHz Band, the L-Band, and the 1.6/2.4 GHz Bands, Memorandum Opinion and Order and Second Order on Reconsideration, 20 FCC Rcd 4616, ¶ 70 (2005).           
[iii]       National Broadband Plan, Recommendation 5.8.4., p. 87.
[iv]       Letter from Lawrence Strickling, NTIA, to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, January 12, 2011, at 1.
[v]        Section 25.255 of the Commission’s rules states that: “[i]f harmful interference is caused to other services by ancillary MSS ATC operations, either from ATC base stations or mobile terminals, the MSS ATC operator must resolve any such interference.”
[vi]       Brattle Group Report, June 22, 2011, pp. 1 n. 2, 8-9.
[vii]      Letter from Trimble Navigation Limited to Strategic Forces Subcommittee, House Armed Services Committee, October 6, 2011, p. 13, fn 38.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Ackerman's Death-Grip on Fullerton Taxpayers

The same three Fullerton City Council Members who are being recalled voted on August 16, 2011 to give a multi-million-dollar contract to St. Anton Partners for an "affordable housing" project in Downtown Fullerton.  Why does any of this matter?  St. Anton Partners' legal representation for this specific project is none other than the same employer for long-time Irvine resident and former Fullerton Mayor Dick Ackerman, Nossaman LLP.

Click HERE and view page 16 of St. Anton Partners' "winning" proposal where they list Nossaman.

Dick Ackerman is also spearheading "Protect Fullerton - Recall No" on behalf of those same council members who just voted for his client's big ($9.5-million) contract.  (see image at left)

Any one who thought Mayor Jones, Mayor Pro Tem Bankhead, and Council Member McKinley were going to live up to their "transparent and open government" platform are sorely mistaken.




Jones, Bankhead, and McKinley have nothing to offer Fullerton but more law suits, failed policies, and a legacy of corruption. 


Image borrowed from FullertonsFuture.org and blogger "Nipsey"


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Stockton's Redevelopment Failure Gives Fullerton a Dismal Outlook

A Bloomberg Businessweek article on Stockton (CA) Redevelopment's possible default should have many of Fullerton's Redevelopment Agency supporters biting their nails. 

Stockton declared a fiscal emergency in May and is now warning that the RDA may default on a 2006 bond obligation with the debt service outpacing revenue to the tune of $858,000. 

Fullerton has several outstanding redevelopment bond obligations.  In July 2010 the Fullerton RDA announced spending $22.7-million for low-income housing and then in October 2010 the RDA passed a $29-million bond which is expected to cost taxpayers $45.5-million of the following 16 years.

Putting these figures in perspective, the Fullerton RDA receives about $17-million per year to cover all of the agency's debts and project development.

And we cannot forget yet another expense incurred by Fullerton's RDA, something I call the "Brown Taxes" after our own Governor Brown.  Sacramento's ABX1-26 & 27 is aimed at recovering tax revenue from redevelopment agencies, Fullerton's RDA paid out $6.26-million in Brown Taxes.

This is the same redevelopment agency which planned to spend $6-million to move a McDonald's 200 feet! 

With several bond obligations, Brown Taxes, slumping property tax increment revenue, poor direction, and pending litigation, the Fullerton Redevelopment Agency would be doing us all a favor if they just closed their doors for good.

Greg Sebourn

Orange County Bail Bonds

The Beauty of a Storm

The Beauty of a Storm
Orange County, Ca.

My Grandma - A Eulogy

LET'S TALK ABOUT 1914 FOR A MOMENT.



FOR STARTERS, GRANDMA WAS BORN TUESDAY, DECEMBER 22, 1914 IN HER FAMILY'S ATWOOD RANCH HOUSE.



IT IS WORTH NOTING THOSE ALSO BORN IN 1914:

JACK LALANNE

JOE DIMAGGIO

DANNY THOMAS



AND WHO DIED IN 1914:

JOHN MUIR, THE FAMOUS NATURALIST FOR WHICH NUMEROUS ROADS, PARKS, HOTELS, AND NATURE RESERVES ARE NAMED.



IT IS ALSO WORTH NOTING THAT IN 1914 WOODROW WILSON SIGNS MOTHER'S DAY PROCLAMATION AND BABE RUTH MAKES HIS MAJOR LEAGUE DEBUT WITH THE RED SOX. MOTHER'S DAY AND BASEBALL- TWO OF MY FAVORITES!! (PERHAPS HER NICKNAME "BABE" CAME FROM BABE RUTH???)



GRANDMA WAS BORN INTO A PERIOD OF TIME FILLED WITH TURMOIL. IN JUNE OF 1914 ARCHDUKE FRANZS FERDINAND WAS ASSASSINATED. WITHIN ONE MONTH WORLD WAR I RAGED ACROSS EUROPE. TWO DAYS AFTER HER BIRTH HOWEVER, GERMAN AND BRITISH TROOPS INTERRUPTED WWI TO CELEBRATE CHRISTMAS. (PERHAPS THEY PAUSE KNOWING THAT A GREAT WOMAN WAS BORNE) WORLD WAR I CONTINUED UNTIL THE TREATY OF VERSAILLES IN 1919.



ALTHOUGH SHE WAS ONLY 5 YEARS OLD, SHE SAW THE LEAGUE OF NATIONS CREATED AND THE 19TH AMENDMENT WAS APPROVED BY THE U.S. CONGRESS GUARANTEEING THE RIGHTS OF WOMEN TO VOTE.



SHE LIVED THROUGH MANY NOTABLE EVENTS. LIKE THE 1933 LONG BEACH EARTHQUAKE OR WHEN ATWOOD FLOODED ALONG WITH MOST OF ORANGE COUNTY IN 1938 AND THE FLOOD-WATERS CLAIMED MORE THAN 50 PEOPLE, 43 OF WHICH WERE FROM ATWOOD! ALL OF THIS DURING A TIME THAT WE READ ABOUT IN SCHOOL AND KNOWN AS "THE GREAT DEPRESSION". SOMEWHERE IN ALL OF THAT SHE FOUND THE LOVE OF HER LIFE, GRANDPA LEO, GRADUATED HIGH SCHOOL, GOT MARRIED, AND HAD KIDS!



THEN THERE WAS WORLD WAR II. FROM PEARL HARBOR TO HIROSHIMA, GRANDMA WAS RAISING MY UNCLE BOB AND MOM ARLINE. WITH AIR-RAID SIRENS AND BLACKOUTS SHE WAS A WIFE AND MOTHER. WHAT A TIME TO RAISE CHILDREN! I BET GRANDMA'S PARENTS WERE ABEL TO TELL HER A THING OR TWO ABOUT RAISING KIDS IN WARTIME.



GRANDMA WAS THERE WHEN THE BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA HELD THEIR 3RD ANNUAL NATIONAL JAMBOREE IN 1953. SHE SAW AIRBASES OPEN IN '42 AND CLOSE IN '99. SHE WATCHED WALTER KNOTT START UP HIS BERRY FARM AND WALT DISNEY TURN ORANGE GROVES AND STRAWBERRY PATCHES INTO DISNEYLAND!



SHE SAW THE HORSE AND CARRIAGE FADE AWAY INTO HISTORY AND SPACE TRAVEL EXPLODE BEFORE HER WITH THE FIRST LUNAR LANDING. JUST IMAGINE HOW MUCH TECHNOLOGY HAS CHANGED OVER THE LAST 100 YEARS. FROM TUBE RECTIFIERS TO SUPERCONDUCTORS; FROM TRANS-ATLANTIC TELEGRAPH CABLES TO SATELLITE TV.



SHE SAW MORE IN HER 93 YEARS THAN MOST OF US WILL EVER READ ABOUT, LET ALONE LIVE THROUGH!



OF THOSE 93 YEARS IT IS MY HONOR TO HAVE BEEN HER GRANDSON FOR 35 OF THEM. SHE WAS MY MOTHER WHEN MOM HAD TO WORK. SHE WIPED MY NOSE AND PUT FOOD IN MY MOUTH. SHE LET ME PLAY WITH GRANDPA EVEN THOUGH SHE NEEDED HIM TO TAKE HER TO THE STORE. SHE WAS MY GRANDMA AND I WILL MISS HER IMMENSELY.



JUST LOOK AROUND THIS ROOM; SHE DID THIS. SHE IS RESPONSIBLE FOR BRINGING SO MANY GOOD PEOPLE INTO THIS WORLD AND TOGETHER TODAY. THIS IS HER LEGACY.



A Dedication To My Loving Wife, Stacey. Thank you for all you do for me!

Brad Paisley - I Thought I Loved You Then


I remember trying not to stare the night that I first met you
You had me mesmerized
3 weeks later in the front porch light taking 45 min to kiss you goodnight
I hadn’t told you yet but I thought I loved you then

Chorus
Now you’re my whole life now you’re my whole world
I just can’t believe the way I feel about you girl
Like a river meets the sea
Stronger than it’s ever been
We’ve come so far since that day
And I thought I loved you then.

I remember taking you back to right where I first met you
You were so surprised
There were people around
But I didn’t care I got down on one knee right there
And once again I thought I loved you then

Chorus
Now you’re my whole life now you’re my whole world
I just can’t believe the way I feel about you girl
Like a river meets the sea
Stronger than it’s ever been
We’ve come so far since that day
And I thought I loved you then.

I can just see you with a baby on the way
I can just see you when your hair is turning gray
What I can’t see is how I’m ever gonna love you more
But I’ve said that before.

Now you’re my whole life now you’re my whole world
I just can’t believe the way I feel about you girl
Well look back some day at this moment that we’re in
And I'll look at you and say I thought I loved you then
And I thought I loved you then...

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