LightSquared files GPS report and new plan

The carrier says tests showed GPS devices caused interference

LightSquared filed a long-awaited report on possible GPS interference by its planned cellular network to the FCC on Thursday, along with a formal proposal to use a different block of frequencies to prevent those problems.

In a press release announcing the filings, the carrier focused on its new plan and slammed the GPS industry as the cause of the interference.

"GPS device test results, which were also filed at the FCC today, show unequivocally that the interference is caused by the GPS manufacturers' decision over the last eight years to design products that depend on using spectrum assigned to other FCC licenses," LightSquared said.

The company said its alternative plan, in which it would initially stay out of the portion of its spectrum closest to the GPS band, would solve interference for 99.5 percent of GPS devices in the U.S., including all GPS-enabled cell phones.

LightSquared has been testing its planned LTE (Long Term Evolution) network for interference with GPS over the past few months. The U.S. Federal Communications Commission required the test report as a condition for letting LightSquared build a hybrid satellite and LTE network across the U.S.

LightSquared's business plan is to set up a hybrid satellite and LTE network that uses frequencies in the MSS (Mobile Satellite Service) band, which so far has been reserved for only satellite-based systems. The company plans to sell access to the networks at wholesale to partners including Best Buy and Leap Wireless, which in turn will offer services to consumers. Sprint Nextel also plans to partner with LightSquared, according to news reports. The resellers can choose to offer either or both of the services.

The FCC gave conditional approval to the project because LightSquared's satellite network would reach all of the U.S. population, including rural users. But because the LTE network would operate at a high transmission power in frequencies near to those used by GPS, the agency required LightSquared to gauge the extent of the interference problem and resolve it.

Thursday's report originally was due June 15, but the FCC extended the deadline to July 1. However, key results of the tests were publicized even before the report was originally due. They showed some GPS receivers for aviation, public safety, agriculture and personal navigation losing GPS capability at varying distances from LightSquared cell towers. The final report confirmed these findings.

The alternative plan would take LightSquared out of the band where the most severe interference was found during testing, but critics such as the Coalition to Save Our GPS have countered that little is known about the effect of operating in only the lower spectrum. Also, it's not clear what process the FCC will use to evaluate LightSquared's new plan. Critics and lawmakers have called for more testing of the proposed solution.

Stephen Lawson covers mobile, storage and networking technologies for The IDG News Service. Follow Stephen on Twitter at @sdlawsonmedia. Stephen's e-mail address is stephen_lawson@idg.com

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags 4gtelecommunicationconsumer electronicsregulationLightSquaredGPSU.S. Federal Communications Commissionmobilegovernment

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

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

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?