LightSquared Files Interference Report, Says GPS Device Makers Share Blame (6/30/11)
Thursday, June 30, 2011 | Comments

LightSquared formally presented the company's modified spectrum plan to the FCC and proposed a solution to the GPS interference issue, while saying the GPS industry must step up to help mitigate interference.

LightSquared's proposal outlined a three-part solution for resolving GPS interference issues involving GPS devices, detailed in recommendations filed at the FCC June 30. GPS device test results, which were also filed at the FCC, show unequivocally that the interference is caused by the GPS device manufacturer's decision during the past eight years to design products that depend on using spectrum assigned to other FCC licensees, the report said.

"The GPS device manufacturers, unlike relevant government agencies, have been largely uninterested in finding a win-win solution," said a LightSquared statement. "Rather, their only answer to a problem of their own making is to demand that the government simply block LightSquared from using the company's own spectrum ... This is a problem that the GPS industry could have avoided by equipping their devices over the last several years with filters that cost as little as 5 cents each."

The testing results released show LightSquared's proposed solution resolves interference for about 99.5 percent of all commercial GPS devices - including 100 percent of the 300 million GPS-enabled cell phones, the company said. LightSquared said issues remain with precision GPS devices, and it is committed to finding a solution.

"This issue will be resolved by good data, smart engineers and good-faith problem solving dialog,' said Sanjiv Ahuja, LightSquared chairman and CEO. "The end-result will be continuity for the reliable and safe GPS system we have come to depend on, along with a new high-speed wireless network that will provide huge benefits to consumers."

LightSquared officials said they need the cooperation of the GPS industry. "LightSquared believes cooperation is the least to expect from an industry that built a business by piggy-backing on the federal government's GPS network without any investment in infrastructure or spectrum," a statement said. A recent Brattle Group study, funded by LightSquared, showed that the commercial GPS industry's ability to use the U.S. government's GPS network amounts to an $18 billion federal subsidy.

The company plans to launch service by 2015.

The FCC requested comments on the interference recommendations due July 30 and reply comments by Aug. 15.

On July 5, LightSquared announced the company gained another $265 million in investments.

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