LightSquared, GPS Innovation Alliance spar over spectrum, power levels, interference and more

Network startup LightSquared blasted a recent report from the GPS Innovation Alliance, arguing that the group made "several significant errors or incomplete engineering and technical points" in its recent presentation to the FCC. The dustup between the two players stems from LightSquared's continued efforts to get the FCC to allow it to conduct wireless operations in spectrum that is adjacent to GPS operations--a plan widely opposed by the GPS industry.

In its own filing with the FCC, LightSquared and its engineering consultants at Roberson and Associates--the same consulting firm used by Globalstar in a separate proceeding--argued that the GPS Innovation Alliance did not accurately explain how "band gaps" and "duplex spacing" are used by GPS devices and cell phones. LightSquared also pointed to what it said are inaccuracies by the GPS Innovation Alliance in describing GPS power levels, interference-induced errors, and other technical details.

The GPS Innovation Alliance, for its part, was formed in 2013 to promote the interests of the GPS industry. The group has said it plans to work with LightSquared to repurpose its mobile satellite spectrum for terrestrial broadband use, but has warned that the "technical challenges posed by these proposals are formidable."

LightSquared initially launched in 2010 with the goal of building a nationwide wireless LTE network that other companies could use in order to offer their own services to customers. The company signed up around 40 wholesale customers to the plan. However, LightSquared entered bankruptcy protection in May 2012 after the FCC revoked its conditional license to operate because of unresolved concerns that LightSquared's planned LTE-based network in the L-band would interfere with GPS receivers. LightSquared vigorously contested that move.

After spending close to three years organizing its finances in bankruptcy, today LightSquared is working with the FCC to refine its network rollout plans to address GPS interference concerns. To that end, the company is working to test 28 popular GPS receivers and related devices to see if they interfere with its refreshed network design. Specifically, LightSquared has said it wants to work with GPS firms Trimble, Garmin and John Deere to resolve disputes that have kept LightSquared's network grounded. Reed Hundt, a former FCC chairman who is now an attorney representing LightSquared, recently told Inside GNSS the firm wants to work with the GPS players "to see if we can find a business and technical solution that helps their businesses and lets us get going in our business."

For more:
- see this LightSquared filing

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