LightSquared forms working group with U.S. GPS Industry Council to solve interference fears

LightSquared said it has formed a working group with the United States Global Positioning System Industry Council (USGIC) to study potential problems LightSquared's terrestrial-satellite network might pose on GPS systems.

LightSquared last month received conditional FCC approval to install its network, with restrictions around keeping signals to their assigned frequencies in the L band. It is also required to test existing GPS devices to determine what type of interference its transmitters might cause. LightSquared was required to submit an initial report on Feb. 25, that includes a plan that outlines how the potential interference will be analyzed.

The concern stems from the fact that the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) told the FCC that federal agencies are worried about LightSquared's proposed LTE network interfering with GPS satellites and other emergency communications. In the letter, NTIA Administrator Lawrence Strickling said that a fully terrestrial network would require more base stations than a terrestrial/satellite combination network, thereby increasing the likelihood of interference.

LightSquared plans to build a network of 40,000 broadband transmission towers around the U.S. The nationwide LTE network would cover 92 percent of the U.S. population. The company has said its wholesale LTE network will allow for terrestrial-only, satellite-only or integrated satellite-terrestrial services (via the terrestrial and MSS spectrum Harbinger scored through a merger last year with satellite operator SkyTerra).

LightSquared told the FCC that it has been working cooperatively with USGIC to co-chair a working group on the interference issue. The working group will include a technical working group that will consist of GPS industry experts and will provide guidance and recommendations for the working group on critical elements of the interference study.

"It is expected that the TWG will be made up of individuals numbering 14-20 who will bring strong technical and/or use-case expertise to the working group and represent a diversity of receiver categories and installed user groups," LightSquared wrote to the FCC.

LightSquared's next progress report is due May 15 to the commission.

For more:
- see this FCC filing

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