NTIA blasts LightSquared’s previous network design, pledges to review new one

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration said it will continue to work with the GPS industry, the FCC and LightSquared to test LightSquared's planned LTE network for interference.

The NTIA's comments were contained in a report the agency sent to the FCC that found "significant potential for harmful interference" from LightSquared's planned network on GPS receivers. However, the report tested LightSquared's previous network design; LightSquared early last month announced a redesign of its planned nationwide LTE network that the company said will address GPS interference concerns. The company's new network design has not yet been tested by the NTIA.

Lawrence Strickling, head of the NTIA, said the agency will consult with the FCC on additional tests of LightSquared's new network design.

LightSquared, backed by billionaire Philip Falcone of Harbinger Capital Partners, plans to build a nationwide LTE network and wholesale it to other providers. LightSquared so far has signed up several customers, including Leap Wireless (NASDAQ:LEAP), Cellular South, Best Buy and Open Range Communications. Reports also have indicated that LightSquared has consummated a network-hosting deal with Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S), though both LightSquared and Sprint have declined to confirm or deny the reports.

However, LightSquared's plans have faltered on worries about funding the LTE buildout and continued concerns from the GPS community that LightSquared's network will interfere with GPS receivers.

For more:
- see this PhoneScoop article
- see this Ars Technica article
- see this NTIA report (PDF)

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