LightSquared expects to submit a final report to the FCC on the GPS interference tests the company and a GPS technical working group conducted ahead of an extended deadline, a company executive said.
Meanwhile, GPS users continued to attack LightSquared's plan to mitigate GPS interference concerns, which the company unveiled earlier this week. LightSquared fired back with a commissioned study that claimed the GPS industry has essentially received an $18 billion subsidy from the federal government.
Martin Harriman, an executive vice president at LightSquared, told FierceWireless that the company and the technical working group intend to submit the report to the FCC by June 29, just ahead of the July 1 deadline. The FCC granted LightSquared an extension last week; the report was originally due June 15.
Under LightSquared's proposed solution, the company will no longer launch its network in a 10 MHz chunk of its spectrum that tests showed caused interference with many GPS receivers. Instead, LightSquared said it recently inked a deal with Inmarsat, the satellite firm that controls the lower spectrum band, which will allow LightSquared to get access to the lower spectrum band, the channel from 1526 to 1536 MHz, sooner than it initially planned. LightSquared also said it will modify its FCC license to reduce the maximum authorized power of its base-station transmitters by more than 50 percent.
However, farm-equipment maker Deere & Co., which is part of a coalition of GPS users aligned against LightSquared's network plans, said the proposed solution will still cause problems. "The LightSquared proposition would degrade most of our GPS receivers and their capability of helping the farmer in precision agriculture, as far away as 22 miles," Deere spokesman Ken Golden said in a conference call with reporters, according to Bloomberg. Deere estimated that the negative effect of LightSquared's network to the larger U.S. economy would be $96 billion a year.
Harriman said that the company's spectrum plan does continue to pose a problem for high-precision GPS receivers, and that the report will look to deal with those issues. However, he said that 99.5 percent of non-precision GPS receivers would be unaffected by the plan. "The data is pretty compelling that narrow-band, non-precision GPS is largely unaffected by the lower 10 MHz of spectrum," he said. "But I will also be honest and totally up front that the upper 10 MHz does. That's why we did what we did."
Meanwhile, LightSquared commissioned a study released by the consulting firm The Brattle Group, which said that commercial GPS device manufacturers enjoy the implicit government subsidy by offering services and applications that use the GPS satellite network, according to the report. The report said the subsidy is essentially equal to the costs the GPS industry would incur if it were to build and operate a U.S. commercial satellite system on its own for 30 years.
Harriman said that the loudest opponents of LightSquared's proposal have been Deere and GPS device maker Trimble, which both make high-precisions receivers. He said the company would be happy to discuss possible solutions with them.
- see this Bloomberg article
- see this Dow Jones Newswires article (sub. req.)
- see this Brattle Group release
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