Sprint has granted LightSquared six more weeks to gain approval from the Federal Communications Commission to launch its network. This is the second time the carrier has extended it deadline for LightSquared to prove to the FCC that its network does not interfere with GPS systems. There has been quite a battle going on between LightSquared and the government, however. LightSquared and a former FCC engineer have argued that the carrier’s 4G LTE network, which Sprint plans to use to help roll out its LTE service more quickly, was unfairly tested at higher power levels than the network will actually operate at and that testing was “rigged.” The company also said that those who tested its network would benefit from the FCC’s possible decision to prevent it from operating. “Sprint and LightSquared have agreed to extend our network agreement through mid March,” LightSquared said in a statement to BGR. “Sprint continues to support our business plan to bring wireless broadband to more than 260 million Americans and our ongoing efforts to work with regulatory agencies to resolve interference concerns.” LightSquared now has until March to gain the FCC’s blessing to operate. More →
Sprint recently told LightSquared that it has an additional 30 days to gain approval from the Federal Communications Commission to launch its 4G LTE network. Sprint said in March that it would deploy part of its planned 4G LTE network using LightSquared’s 1600MHz frequency spectrum, but LightSquared has yet to prove to the FCC that adjustments to its network no longer interfere with GPS technology. Sprint originally gave LightSquared until December 31st to gain the approval, which The Wall Street Journal said is a condition of the 15-year partnership. On December 15th, the Department of Defense and the Department of Transportation both announced that they “still see an interference problem with the network.” LightSquared responded a few days later demanding approval from the FCC. “LightSquared has had FCC authorization to build its network for over eight years and that authorization was endorsed by the GPS industry, and fully reviewed and allowed to proceed by several other government agencies,” LightSquared’s executive vice president of regulatory affairs and public policy Jeff Carlisle said. “Commercial GPS device-makers have had nearly a decade to design and sell devices that do not infringe on LightSquared’s licensed spectrum. They have no right to complain in the eleventh-hour about incompatibility when they had ample opportunity to avoid this problem.” More →
Today, Google released an updated version of its Chrome web browser for the Windows platform, adding a highly requested feature: extension and bookmark syncing. Linux fans, although currently able to install extensions, won’t have access to bookmark and extension syncing just yet. As for Mac users, Google had this to say, “hang tight — we’re working on bringing extensions, bookmark sync and more to the beta soon.” Firefox users who leverage the XMarks (formerly FoxMarks) extension know the value of bookmark syncing, and many FF users — present company included — lust for an easy way to keep extensions synchronized between multiple computers. Perhaps this latest move by the Chrome team will spark the likes of Apple and Mozilla to think about building more synchronization functionality into their respective browsers? Until that does happen, all interested parties can head over to google.com/chrome to check out the latest build.
Also of note: if you want to live on the dangerous side, Chromium developer builds for Mac support extensions and bookmark syncing.
News is spreading like wildfire about a new Firefox extension that makes pirating media listed on Amazon easier than ever. The extension, Pirates of the Amazon, detects what you are viewing on Amazon and provides a link to a “free” copy courtesy of Pirate Bay. The plugin embeds a button right into the web page literally providing one click access to a presumably illegal copy. It works with CDs, DVDs, games, and books. The website for the extension is currently offline, most likely due to a crushing amount of traffic from all the publicity. This is not the first plugin to link your web browser to BitTorent files but it is the first one to link the largest online retailer, Amazon, and the largest BitTorent tracker, Pirate Bay. The people behind the extension explain their rationale and claim no affiliation with Pirate Bay, “We are not affiliated with The Pirate Bay, and do not host or even link to any illegal content. This artistic project addresses the topic of current media distribution models vs. current culture and technical possibilities.” We are not sure that such an extension could be deemed an “artistic project” but we will leave it to you to form your own interpretation of what they mean. Whatever the reason behind the extension, its presence raises bigger questions about the impact of online piracy during a point in time when online retailers are slowly moving towards non-DRM forms of media distribution. Will the presence of this plugin provide fodder for the RIAA and MPAA to further increase their efforts to combat online piracy by imposing filtering methods on ISPs and pushing for more stringent DRM requirements for media distribution ? Sound off in the comments and let us know what you think.