GPS Community Draws Line in Sand Against LightSquared

 - March 15, 2011, 12:53 PM

A panel of experts, selected jointly by the GPS Industry Council and LightSquared Corp., is currently determining whether LightSquared’s proposed NAS-wide network of 40,000 powerful ground stations transmitting voice and Internet traffic could interfere with and potentially jam GPS receivers operating within their own FCC-protected frequency band. The panel has three months to complete its work, with its report due June 15. The panel’s formation followed Garmin simulations showing that a TSO’d receiver experienced ground station interference at 13.8 miles and complete jamming at 5.6 miles. LightSquared believed those results were inconclusive and in any event it should not be entirely responsible for preventing interference, implying that GPS users should also take preventive measures. In testimony before the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations on Thursday, Jim Kirkland–Trimble Navigation vice president and general counsel, as well as a founding member of the Coalition to Save Our GPS–drew an unequivocal line in the sand. “LightSquared must bear the costs of preventing interference emanating from its devices,” he stated, “and if there is no way to prevent interference, it should not be permitted to operate.”