LightSquared, federal agencies continue squabbling over GPS interference

LightSquared's battle with federal agencies over GPS interference concerns continues, and federal officials plan to tell a congressional committee that the company's proposed wholesale LTE network will harm hurricane tracking.

According to testimony obtained by Bloomberg, officials from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Transportation Department and a federal advisory body plan to testify that LightSquared's planned network will interfere with precision GPS systems for the tracking. "We support further testing of LightSquared's proposal," Mary Glackin, a deputy under secretary at NOAA, will say in the testimony before the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology.

LightSquared is prepared to argue that its terrestrial network and GPS can coexist. GPS device makers have argued that LightSquared's network will cause harmful interference, especially to precision GPS devices. LightSquared, in turn, has blamed the GPS industry for not complying with GPS receiver filtering standards from the Department of Defense, an argument the GPS industry has rejected as misleading.

FCC officials said in August they have no timetable for evaluating LightSquared's revised network deployment proposal, and that finding a solution that protects GPS is a top priority. They said more testing may be needed, but declined to say how long that might take. 

A report issued in June that was commissioned by the FCC found LightSquared's initial LTE network design interfered with GPS signals. In response, LightSquared released a revised network design, which uses the the lower 10 MHz of its L-Band spectrum and would create more of a buffer between LightSquared's spectrum and the spectrum used by GPS.

Anthony Russo, director of the National Coordination Office for Space-Based Positioning, Navigation and Timing, which coordinates federal agencies' interest in GPS, will say in testimony that more study of LightSquared's revised plan is needed, especially for the effect on precision GPS devices. The company "should not be allowed to commence commercial operations until the identified problems are resolved," he said.

LightSquared signed  a 15-year, $9 billion network-hosting deal with Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) in late July, but the deal is contingent on LightSquared getting FCC approval to operate its network. 

For more:
- see this Bloomberg article

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