LightSquared gets extension for GPS test results

Jun 16, 2011 By JOELLE TESSLER , AP Technology Writer

Federal regulators have granted a Virginia company called LightSquared a two-week extension to report on recent tests that aimed to determine whether its proposed high-speed wireless broadband network would cripple GPS systems around the country.

A technical working group created to study the extent of potential interference from LightSquared's proposed network was to report its findings on Wednesday to the .

Mandated by the , the group is controlled by LightSquared but includes representatives from GPS equipment makers and users, including a number of federal agencies that rely on GPS technology.

LightSquared asked for an extension to July 1 to file the amid growing concern that its proposed network would jam used for everything from aviation and military operations to and consumer .

The delay raises fresh questions about whether the FCC will allow LightSquared to proceed with its plan to build a new nationwide fourth-generation wireless network that would compete with super-fast systems being rolled out by AT&T and Verizon.

GPS equipment makers and users fear that the new network could jam their systems because LightSquared would use airwaves right next to those set aside for GPS. They warn that sensitive satellite receivers - designed to pick up relatively weak signals - could be overwhelmed when LightSquared starts sending high-powered signals from as many as 40,000 transmitters on the ground.

Although the FCC gave LightSquared approval in January to build the system, the agency said it would not allow the network to be turned on until GPS interference problems are resolved. It required LightSquared, GPS equipment makers and GPS users to establish the technical working group to study the matter. The group conducted extensive interference tests using LightSquared equipment in Las Vegas last month.

In a filing with the FCC late Wednesday, LightSquared said it needs more time to study and compile the results into a final report because the working group had to conduct more tests than it expected.

The delay angered other companies participating in the group, including GPS equipment makers Trimble Navigation Ltd. and Garmin Ltd. They say LightSquared is simply trying to stall the release of tests results that reveal serious problems.

"The working group results show massive interference to GPS," said Jim Kirkland, Trimble vice president and general counsel. "Delay will not change these results. It is disappointing that LightSquared has misused its control of the study group process filing process to delay this filing."

Last week, a working group of the National Executive Committee for Space-Based Positioning, Navigation, and Timing - a federal organization that advises and coordinates among federal agencies that rely on GPS technology - released results from a series of tests conducted by various government agencies in New Mexico in April that found potential for widespread GPS interference.

RTCA, a nonprofit group that advises the Federal Aviation Administration, also recently released the results of its own tests, which found that LightSquared's use of airwaves closest to the GPS spectrum would cause a "complete loss of GPS receiver function" over large metropolitan areas.

Explore further: Scientists twist radio beams to send data: Transmissions reach speeds of 32 gigabits per second

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Tests show wireless network could jam GPS systems

Jun 11, 2011

New government test results show that a proposed high-speed wireless broadband network being launched by a company called LightSquared could jam GPS systems used for aviation, public safety, military operations and other ...

New 4G network could cause widespread GPS dead zones

Feb 23, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- If a plan to build new 4G mobile phone base stations in the US goes ahead, engineers say GPS satellite navigation systems will be seriously jammed and huge areas of the country will become ...

Planned wireless Internet network threatens GPS

Apr 06, 2011

A new, ultra-fast wireless Internet network is threatening to overpower GPS signals across the U.S. and interfere with everything from airplanes to police cars to consumer navigation devices.

LightSquared cleared to offer wireless broadband

Jan 26, 2011

(AP) -- Federal regulators have given a satellite start-up called LightSquared clearance to use its allotted airwaves to provide wireless broadband services that could compete with AT&T and Verizon Wireless.

Best Buy to sell access to new wireless network

Mar 23, 2011

(AP) -- LightSquared, a company that's building a new nationwide wireless broadband network, says Best Buy will resell access to that network, starting with a trial early next year. ...

Recommended for you

Cutting congestion on the data network highway

Sep 12, 2014

Perhaps no other consumer-driven technology has made such incredible advances in such a relatively short space of time as the mobile phone. Today's smartphones are used to stream videos, access social media ...

T-Mobile to sell phones that call, text on Wi-Fi (Update)

Sep 10, 2014

T-Mobile will sell more than 100 smartphone models with a built-in feature that taps into Wi-Fi networks to make phone calls and send texts when customers can't connect to the wireless carrier's cellular network.

User comments : 0