Globalstar VP: ATC Spectrum Issues will be Solved by Engineers, Not Lawyers

[Satellite TODAY Insider 03-16-12] An MSS policy and technology session opened Tuesday at the SATELLITE 2012 conference with a question about how long the industry has been discussing the challenges involved with allocating spectrum for networks and ended with speculation about how long it might take to resolve these issues.
   Polled at the end of session on how long it will take to deploy terrestrial services in the L-band, three of the seven panelists predicted that it would take between 15 and 30 years. Two of the panelists, Iridium Communications Vice President of Regulatory Engineering Donna Bethea-Murphy and Inmarsat Vice President of Government Affairs Diane Cornell, passed on the question. Brian Weimer, a partner at Sheppard Mullin, gave it seven to 10 years.
   The optimist on the panel, Globalstar Vice President of Regulatory Affairs L. Barbee Ponder, underscored his company’s commitment to the MSS market through its $1.2 billion second-generation constellation launch and said a solution was possible within a few years under one scenario. “I think if you can get the engineers in the same room, they will solve the problem,” he said. “The lawyers will not solve it.”
   Cornell agreed that getting incumbent operators to engage at the technical level is a key strategy in overcoming regulatory challenges. “That’s the way ATC MSS worked before,” she said. “We basically locked engineers in rooms for months, if not years.”
   For an issue with such history and lengthy prospects, there is plenty of current activity. Stansell noted that the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is hosting a workshop on spectrum efficiency and receiver performance issues this week. The commission’s notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) on 2 GHz of spectrum begins with an open meeting March 21. 

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