Speaking today at an event in Washington, D.C., a spokesman for the Coalition to Save Our GPS said the test data “make clear that there is substantial interference to GPS is LightSquared turns on high-powered terrestrial facilities in the spectrum next door to GPS.”
“The data confirm what the industry told the FCC before it granted the waiver, and also confirms that there is no viable technical fix,” said Jim Kirkland, vice president of Trimble Navigation Limited and a founding member of the GPS coalition. “It’s time for the FCC to stop squandering resources trying to find a solution to an unfixable problem. Instead, it should focus its efforts on finding spectrum that LightSquared can operate in — where LightSquared won’t interfere with GPS. “When it comes to broadband and GPS, it’s not an either/or situation – the United States can, and should have both. LightSquared says it has other spectrum and it should use it.”
At issue is a waiver granted to LightSquared in January by the FCC’s International Bureau allowing the company to build up to 40,000 ground stations to boost cell phone reception. The stations would pick up signals from the mobile satellite spectrum (MSS) immediately neighboring that of the GPS, “utilizing extremely high-powered ground-based transmissions that tests have shown will cause interference to hundreds of millions of GPS receivers across the United States,” coalition officials said.
At the event, Kirkland and government representatives discussed testing conducted to measure interference to GPS receivers used in aviation and other critical government applications. In at least one test, LightSquared failed to deliver test equipment that matches its proposed operations, thus causing optimistic results – and even those optimistic results showed interference
“It’s clearly a good thing what LightSquared is trying to do,” Kirkland said. “No one in the GPS industry opposes its goals of increasing wireless data capacity and competition, but the available data has shown overwhelming interference, and LightSquared should not be allowed to launch in the spectrum adjacent to GPS.”
A joint industry report is due to the FCC on June 15, when the FCC will begin a public comment period before making its final decision.