Looks like the Sirius XM satellite radio service has brought out some big automotive guns in its feud with the WCS Coalition over tower interference concerns between wireless and satellite services. Ford, Volvo, and Chrysler have written to the Federal Communications Commission to back Sirius on the question.
“We urge the FCC to be cautious and ensure that satellite radio is not degraded by changing the established rules for WCS operations,” Ford told the FCC on January 26. “Sirius XM Radio has spent billions of dollars developing networks that are based on the understanding that mobile WCS devices would not interfere. Automakers have installed tens of millions of satellite radios in their vehicles with that same understanding. Unlike cell phones, automobiles are notdiscarded every year or two – these satellite radios will remain operational and in circulation for years to come.”
Ditto says Volvo using pretty much the same language. And don’t forget, warns Chrysler, “Unlike cell phone service where momentary blips or degradation are easily overcome, satellite radio provides high-quality audio and music where drop-outs and interruptions are neither expected nor tolerated by subscribers, in large part because competing audio services typically provide error free service.”
As we have reported, the close proximity of the Wireless Communications Services band to the Sirius XM satellite band in the 2.3 GHz area has caused quite a bit of contention about whether WCS activity interferes or could mess with Sirius XM transmissions, especially if various spectrum holders start offering broadband on those frequencies. Sirius insists that coexistence scenarios proposed by the WCS Coalition pose a threat. The coalition, which represents the license area’s owners (among them AT&T, Comcast, and NextWave) say that Sirius’ claims are exaggerated.
Indeed, “The Sun, The Moon And The Stars Must Align For Interference To Occur,” reads one WCS Powerpoint slide.
This feud has been going on for several years now. In fact it predates discussion of the Sirius XM merger. I’m unclear as to when the FCC plans to apply the elbow grease necessary to resolve the issue, but my latest theory is that the policy of the agency is to wait until the sun turns into a Red Dwarf, thus making the problem moot.