Leaked FAA Report Slams LightSquared

 - August 16, 2011, 10:56 AM

“The effects of LightSquared deployment would be far-reaching and potentially devastating to aviation,” the FAA wrote to the President’s Space-Based Positioning, Navigation and Timing (PNT) group in a report that was recently leaked to the media. In that document, the FAA estimated that the resulting interference to GPS from LightSquared’s proposed 4G broadband transmitters would lead to 794 deaths, a $70 billion loss in aviation capabilities and the addition of 30 million tons of CO2 emissions in the 10 years following LightSquared’s startup. These effects would stem from delays in NextGen development and implementation, reversion to ground-based navigation aids, the loss of GPS efficiency and safety benefits and the cost of acquiring and retrofitting modified GPS equipment across the entire aviation fleet. The FAA estimated that the total avionics and related modifications and retrofit programs would take 10 to 15 years to complete, although LightSquared experts claimed earlier that it could be accomplished in only three years. The FCC is expected to announce in mid-September whether or not LightSquared will be allowed to proceed with its plan.