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.
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.
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.
The Coalition to Save Our GPS sent a letter today to the FCC asking the agency to “promptly rule” that LightSquared be barred from using the upper mobile satellite spectrum (MSS) band for high-powered terrestrial operations.
To the puzzlement of the GPS community and independent radio propagation experts, the FCC ruled on September 13 that LightSquared should conduct further tests of its signal transmissions on its alternate, lower L-band frequency farther removed from the GPS frequency. Tests on a LightSquared frequency closer to GPS earlier this year produced extreme interference.
A confidential briefing on the LightSquared/GPS situation presented by Gen. William Shelton, chief of the Air Force Space Command, to senior staff at the Department of Defense and the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) was promptly leaked to LightSquared.
On Tuesday, the FCC approved LightSquared’s fallback plan to move from a frequency close to that of GPS in the upper L-band–where tests had shown severe interference–to a lower 10-MHz portion of the same spectrum where reduced interference was expected.
Possibly recognizing that the July 1 final report on GPS testing showed that interference was worse than predicted, LightSquared lawyers are now bypassing the FCC and submitting technical papers directly to the UN’s International Telecommunications Union (ITU) in Geneva, according to published reports.