LightSquared to GPS industry: Work with us on interference testing or stop complaining

LightSquared is serving notice to the GPS industry, its longtime nemesis: participate in new tests on interference between LightSquared's spectrum and GPS receivers or waive your right to complain, according to a lawyer representing LightSquared.

In a filing last week with the FCC, LightSquared listed 28 different GPS receivers and related devices that it wants to test for interference with its terrestrial mobile broadband service. The devices include certified and non-certified aviation receivers and avionics equipment, general location, cell phones and 13 different high-precision clocks and receivers, according to an Inside GNSS report. 

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.

Reed Hundt, a former FCC chairman who is now an attorney representing LightSquared, told Inside GNSS the 28 receivers on the list in the test plan were chosen for their economic significance--meaning, they are the most widely used and that GPS makers have a clear economic stake in them.

"We think that the right thing to do is test receivers that appear to have, let's call it, economic significance. So, that's why you're looking at a list," Hundt said. "If somebody thinks that others are the ones with economic significance, then confidentially share the business information--and speak now or forever hold your peace."

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. Hundt 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."

LightSquared hired Dennis Roberson & Associates, a consulting firm that specializes in spectrum and RF measurements and analysis, to help with the testing. Hundt said he asked the U.S. Department of Transportation to encourage the three companies to submit to Dennis Roberson & Associates, on a confidential basis, business and technical information for the study.

"It really boils down to two things," said Hundt. "The first thing is speak now or forever hold your peace. . . . If there are devices that you think have economic importance and should be studied, then identify them to Dennis [Roberson]. If there's technical information that you think speaks to the performance of these devices then, in confidence, give it to Dennis. But don't think that it's fair, or serves the cause of justice, to keep the information to yourself and then months later come in and criticize this report. Speak now or forever hold your peace."

Hundt also said that the GPS industry and LightSquared need to agree on the same set of facts. "If we all talk about the facts," he said, "we'll get to a business and technical compromise that will makes everybody better off. That's what I always observed when I was FCC chairman and I am positive that that could be true here."

For more:
- see this Inside GNSS article

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