LightSquared’s recent offer to give up a few frequencies does not satisfy the Global Positioning System and its users, including the airline industry and general aviation.
LightSquared has offered to give up half the frequencies in the spectrum it wants to set up a nationwide broadband satellite-based network, if the FCC will let another organization also be involved in granting frequency use and allows the company to operate the other half without interference. These offers are not going to solve the problem of the company trying to prove interference with GPS.
The offer was made to the FCC in a letter sent Dec. 12. LightSquared has been in the midst of a huge advertising and publicity program to turn public opinion in its favor to continuing to build the network despite its failure to prove there is no interference with frequencies used for GPS.
The airline association was quick to say the offer is not satisfactory. So, too, was the National Business Aviation Association. NBAA told General Aviation News that “LightSquared’s most recent move doesn’t alleviate our overall concern that its signals will interfere with GPS signals, potentially jeopardizing the safety of countless pilots and others who rely on GPS for navigation.” The association added it is not opposed to new technologies as long as they are proven not to interfere with GPS systems.
A coalition of general aviation groups — of which NBAA is part — said the proposal is “a constructive step” but ties the proposal to being given the green light to procede full steam ahead in the lower 10 MHz, which “is premature.” LightSquared uses its own definition of what constitutes interference to hundreds of thousands of GPS devices. The group insists LightSquared’s compatibility with safe aviation operation has yet to be demonstrated.
Charles Spence is General Aviation News’ Washington, D.C., correspondent.