Despite rising jubilation among the GPS community in the middle of last month that LightSquared had at last met its comeuppance, the would-be nationwide wireless broadband provider was not dead yet as this issue went to press. With its technical arguments virtually exhausted, LightSquared entered into a “Pleading Cycle” at the FCC on January 27, using what is likely its only lifeline.
Satellite navigation systems
LightSquared’s planned nationwide 4G broadband network got yet another reprieve from Sprint today. Last year, Sprint agreed to provide $15 billion to LightSquared for infrastructure needs, with one condition: LightSquared must obtain FCC approval by Dec. 31, 2011. The FCC didn’t come through–saying LightSquared has yet to prove its transmissions will not interfere with GPS signals–but last month Sprint extended its offer until the end of this month. And with barely 12 hours to spare, Sprint again extended this until mid-March.
“It is the unanimous conclusion of the test findings by the National Space-Based Positioning, Navigation and Timing (PNT) Executive Committee (ExCom) agencies that both LightSquared’s original and modified plans for its proposed mobile network would cause harmful interference to many GPS receivers,” the committee wrote in a letter sent to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) on Friday. The PNT ExCom–composed of nine U.S.
In a formal submission to the FCC on Wednesday, LightSquared asserted that the GPS community has no legal standing to complain about interference.
Draft data covering recent DOD and FAA tests of cellphones and other consumer GPS devices revealed that 75 percent “experienced harmful interference” when within 100 meters of a LightSquared base station, according to a report in Bloomberg News on December 9.
LightSquared reported yesterday that results of testing by an independent laboratory “confirmed that several major high-precision [GPS] receivers…are 100-percent compatible with LightSquared’s network.” LightSquared is seeking government approval to
LightSquared is coming under pressure from several separate directions, as opponents to its plans provide more specific support to their positions on legal, financial and technical issues. And in the background, a telecom industry heavyweight with whom LightSquared hopes to form an alliance wants clarity by year-end.
NBAA helped to pioneer the transition to GPS-based flight decks and procedures, and now the group is taking a leading role to voice the U.S. civil aviation community’s concern about LightSquared’s threat to GPS.
After LightSquared made statements that it has a “legal right” to build a network of terrestrial 4G broadband transmitters in the U.S., the Coalition to Save Our GPS last Thursday stepped up its attack of the company’s plans.
Clearly impatient with the way the company’s plan for its nationwide broadband Internet project is becoming further and further delayed by opposition from the GPS user community, several federal government departments, members of Congress and, reportedly, within the FCC bureaucracy itself, a LightSquared