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GPS industry vs. LightSquared continues

GPS industry continues to battle LightSquared over its proposed cellular network

The war of words between LightSquared and the GPS industry continues, with each side putting its own spin on the meaning of a technical report submitted to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

The report again raises questions about whether spectrum conflicts between precision GPS devices and LightSquared’s proposed 40,000 tower land-based cellular network can be rectified. The U.S. Global Positioning System Industry Council and LightSquared filed the joint report with the FCC on June 30.

Opposing views
GPS industry leaders said the report confirmed their worries that the land-based portion of LightSquared’s proposed broadband network would seriously degrade precision GPS technologies now in use across the United States.

Meanwhile, in a news release and on its website (, LightSquared trumpeted the report as an affirmation that conflicts between GPS and its hybrid satellite and land-based broadband network can be resolved. It accused the GPS industry of being largely unwilling to work toward a “win-win” solution, which it said could be achieved “by good data, smart engineers and good faith problem solving dialog.”

It also announced the establishment of the Empower Rural America Initiative to ensure “co-existence” of the LightSquared network with GPS. Led by prominent former Democratic and Republican officeholders, including former Senator Byron Dorgan of North Dakota and former Representatives George Nethercutt of Washington and Charlie Stenholm of Texas, the initiative would work with small cities and rural communities to ensure the deployment of the LightSquared service. It also would work to make sure device filters and other approaches are developed to resolve any GPS issues related to precision agriculture.

For its part, the FCC sought comments from interested parties. It has not announced when it will make a final decision whether to grant a permanent license to LightSquared.

Report details
In the 318-page report, the GPS industry and LightSquared take largely opposing stances on the implications of the tests conducted by the working group. A summary report from the U.S. GPS Industry Council highlighted four key GPS industry conclusions contained in the full report:

  • The land-based portion of the LightSquared broadband service will cause harmful interference to nearly all GPS receivers and GPS-dependent applications.
  • Limited testing of the LightSquared terrestrial broadband operations in a lower channel proposed by LightSquared to mitigate interference does not eliminate interference to GPS receivers and related applications.
  • Increased filtering of GPS receivers will not resolve interference issues, in part because no such filters exist. If they were available, they would negatively affect GPS reception and would not mitigate interference on GPS receivers now in use.
  • The only feasible solution to interference from LightSquared land-based operations is to relocate the service to a spectrum that is not adjacent to the GPS band.

Links to the full report, as well as report summaries, are available at


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