LightSquared makes more network concessions to appease GPS interference concerns

Wholesale LTE provider LightSquared made more concessions regarding its L-band spectrum and the power levels of its terrestrial operations in a bid to assuage continued concerns that its proposed terrestrial network will impair GPS receivers.

In a filing with the FCC, LightSquared proposed that its upper 10 MHz of downlink spectrum (1545-1515 MHz) closest to GPS frequencies not be under the FCC's jurisdiction but rather the National Space-Based Positioning, Navigation and Timing (PNT) Systems Engineering Forum, an executive branch body that helps advise policy makers on issues around GPS. LightSquared previously said it intends to deploy its terrestrial network only on its lower 10 MHz of downlink spectrum (1526-1535 MHz) after tests earlier this year showed crippling interference to GPS receivers in the upper 10 MHz.

In addition to giving oversight of the spectrum to the PNT, LightSquared also proposed that it would eliminate a planned increase in transmission power for its ground-based operations slated for 2017. Additionally, LightSquared said it will delay another scheduled increase in transmission power from 2015 to 2016.

Leaked data from GPS interference tests first reported last week by Bloomberg showed that LightSquared's proposed terrestrial network would interfere with up to 75 percent of GPS receivers. LightSquared executives slammed the Bloomberg report Monday and said it was based on selective data, and that the tests reflected power levels 32 times higher than LightSquared actually plans to use. LightSquared has said it could commercially launch service nine months after it receives regulatory approval.

The testing was requested by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration. "Our analysis is still under way and we are examining the full range of scenarios," NTIA spokeswoman Moira Vahey told Bloomberg. "The conclusions to be drawn from the test data will vary depending on factors such as LightSquared's power levels and other technical variables." Official results from the testing are not expected to be released for several more weeks, according to Bloomberg.

For more:
- see this FCC filing (PDF)
- see this IDG News Service article
- see this Bloomberg article

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