GPS advocates step up opposition to LightSquared's LTE network

A group of manufacturers whose businesses rely on the accuracy of GPS, have come together to form a group called in opposition to LightSquared's national mobile broadband network that combines terrestrial and L-band satellite spectrum. The group is concerned about LightSquared's operations potentially interfering with GPS signals.

In addition to GPS companies Garmin and Trimble, the group includes: the Aeronautical Repair Stations Association, Air Transport Association, Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, American Rental Association, Associated Equipment Distributors, Association of Equipment Manufacturers, Case New Holland, Caterpillar Inc., Edison Electric Institute, Esri, General Aviation Manufacturers Association, Deere & Company, National Association of Manufacturers, and OmniSTAR.

The GPS community has said that LightSquared's L-band spectrum, in the 1.5-1.6 GHz band, is too close to GPS spectrum, and that the company's cell sites will cause harmful interference. As a condition of the waiver the FCC granted LightSquared in late January, the company must resolve GPS interference issues before turning on its commercial service. The company formed a working group in February with the United States Global Positioning System Industry Council to study the interference issues. LightSquared has to report to the FCC regularly about its progress and a final report is due in June. 

Trimble vice president and general counsel Jim Kirkland testified before the Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice and Science of the House Appropriations Committee on Friday on the issue. Kirkland said that the FCC's move to approve LightSquared's waiver to operate the network could cause "consequences of disruption" to the GPS that will be "far reaching, likely to affect large portions of the population and the federal government."

Kirkland testified one day following the launch of the Coalition to Save Our GPS, comprised of representatives of a wide variety of industries and companies that have joined together to resolve this serious threat to GPS.

Kirkland added that, "Initial technical analysis have shown that the distant, low-powered GPS signals would receive substantial interference from high-powered, close-proximity transmissions from a network of ground stations. The consequences of disruption to the GPS signals are far reaching, likely to affect large portions of the population and the federal government. Therefore, it is imperative that the new system not be deployed unless it can be conclusively guaranteed that the GPS users are fully protected from radio interference."

He said that LightSquared's proposal to build 40,000 terrestrial base stations operating at 1 billion times the power levels of GPS signals as received on earth "represents a tectonic change in the use of this band."

The full testimony is available at the Coalitions' website:

For more:
- see this article
- read this release

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