Panel To Study GPS Interference from LightSquared

 - March 3, 2011, 9:46 AM

Over the next three months, a panel of 14 experts will test and analyze whether LightSquared's proposal to transmit Internet data from a nationwide network of 40,000 high-powered ground stations will jam very low powered GPS signals operating in the immediately adjacent GPS frequency band. Preliminary laboratory testing by Garmin indicated that LightSquared interference to its TSO’d airborne receivers commenced at 13.8 miles range, and totally jammed them at 5.6 miles. LightSquared’s operating approval from the FCC is subject to it not interfering with GPS, but the agency appears sympathetic to requiring the GPS community to also take protective steps, possibly by installing anti-jam filters. LightSquared is required to make monthly panel reports to the FCC, with its final report due on June 15. This would include the estimated cost impacts and regulatory approval times of any proposed GPS receiver modifications, an aspect which would seem likely to be strongly opposed by the entire GPS user community. However, LightSquared is stressing the urgency of moving quickly ahead, particularly with its $8 billion ground station network.