Tech Tuesday

LightSquared Goings On

The wireless firm that has tangled, and lost, to the FCC, continues to limp forward.

When last we left the LightSquared saga, the company had lost its bid to build a 40,000-tower 4G high-speed broadband network. Rising concerns over that network's potential interference with GPS signals was the culprit and for some regulators, LightSquared never apparently provided enough information - even though LightSquared had been granted a license in the mid-2000s for some of the spectrum.

What happens after you invest $4 billion-plus on a market move and you fail? Well that's still being worked out, but already some in top management have left the firm and now comes word that Philip Falcone, will step down as head of the firm. It's part of a move to keep the company out of bankruptcy, and could be part of a strategy for packaging the firm for sale.

Falcone has been quoted saying that the wireless, high-speed Web idea has merit, and if the GPS issues could be solved that might be true.

There's also talk that LightSquared could sue the U.S. Federal Communications Commission over the blocking of a license to operate in spectrum the company thought it had acquired rights to sue. That's still brewing but so far no action has been taken.

Falcone has been quoted in some press noting that there is value to the idea of a wireless based network providing nearly ubiquitous high speed Internet. I know I would appreciate such a service, but of course the GPS interference issues have to be solved first.

From the general drift of press reports, it appears that LightSquared could be sold to another firm or perhaps taken over by a company. As it stands, the firm has debts and other issues that would require someone with a keen eye to profit from a sale. As for that GPS interference issue? LightSquared isn't moving forward, so farmers only need to worry about the usual disconnect issues with GPS this spring.

Technology in perspective

We take tech for granted. That is no more realistic than in my own house where just two of us have two laptops, two iPads and two iPhones. Combined we have something like 900 gigabytes of storage, and plenty of onboard processing power.

The very idea that I would carry 32 gigabytes of memory in my pocket with a device that would allow me to call around the world at anytime is amazing (and why I like writing about tech). The truth is, the person who could visualize that back in the 1960s during the beginnings of the space program was a true visionary.

You see, the Apollo space program - the initial years - ran on a lot less space and computer power. Yep that roomful of computers that got Armstrong, and his gang to the Moon and back had less combined computer horsepower than the phone in my pocket. Welcome to the future. Of course, I'm still waiting on my flying car.

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