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.
Global Positioning System
“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.
One of the supreme ironies of the ongoing LightSquared saga is that the company’s efforts to promote its nationwide email initiative are not helped when emails about its own activities, written by U.S. government bureaucrats, become public under Freedom of Information legislation.
In a formal submission to the FCC on Wednesday, LightSquared asserted that the GPS community has no legal standing to complain about interference.
Recent tests “did show that LightSquared signals caused harmful interference to the majority of other tested general-purpose GPS receivers,” according to a statement issued yesterday by Anthony Russo, director of the National Coordination Office, on behalf of the National Executive Committee for Space-Based Positioning, Navigation and Timing.
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.
The FAA supplemental type certificate for Garmin’s GTN series touchscreen avionics has been validated by EASA, and the GTN 650 and 750 can now be installed in aircraft registered in Europe.
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.
One of the pleasures of attending the many aviation trade shows on our annual to-do list is the opportunity to see new aircraft, products and people. I’m sure many of the “new” exhibitors that I run across every year have probably been exhibiting for years and I just haven’t noticed them, but it’s still fun to meet new people, like Maxim Antonov of Avioconversiya (no relation to the Russian aircraft designer).