Globalstar gets FCC approval after backing away from Wi-Fi

After years of debate, the company's scaled-back wireless plan has been adopted

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission has approved satellite operator Globalstar’s plan for a land-based wireless service using its own spectrum.

The approval on Friday came just a few weeks after Globalstar made the modified proposal, but the agency had spent years weighing the company’s original plan, which would have used part of the unlicensed 2.4GHz band that is mostly devoted to Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and other popular technologies.

Globalstar owns a license for 11.5MHz of spectrum next to the 2.4GHz band, which led the U.S. to set aside part of the unlicensed band as a buffer to prevent any Globalstar service from interfering with unlicensed services.

In 2012, the company asked for permission to combine its own spectrum with the “guard band” set aside in 2.4GHz so it could set up a service that might augment Wi-Fi. The new service would have made use of a part of the unlicensed band that isn’t available in the U.S., but Globalstar or a partner would have been able to control access to the spectrum.

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler supported the plan, but critics said it would hurt Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Globalstar never got the votes it needed, and after the presidential election last month, which set the stage for a change of leadership at the FCC, the company dropped that plan for the less ambitious one that was adopted Friday. It says the proposal that was adopted will make more spectrum available to U.S. consumers and improve wireless broadband service.

“We look forward to a busy 2017 as we plan to put our terrestrial authority to use for American consumers and pursue similar authority internationally,” Globalstar Chairman and CEO Jay Monroe said in a press release.

Globalstar faces an uphill battle to build a network and a device ecosystem around its spectrum, which isn’t part of either the unlicensed or the traditional cellular world. It’s likely to make a deal with a bigger partner, like one of the major U.S. mobile operators, analysts say.

Join the newsletter!

Or
Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Stephen Lawson

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?