LightSquared has a vision to provide what it calls "the nation's first wholesale-only integrated wireless broadband and satellite network." But that vision has been muddied by what GPS operators say will be interference from LightSquared's network. On Thursday, the Reston, Va.-based company presented a modified spectrum plan to the Federal Communications Commission to resolve the GPS issue.
The company said its goal is to provide a world-class broadband service in the U.S. that includes rural areas and other underserved communities, as well as inject new competition into the wireless market.
'Problem of Their Own Making'
The company said its proposed solution resolves the issue. It also said the interference problem is due to GPS device manufacturers' decision over the past eight years "to design products that depend on using spectrum assigned to other FCC licensees."
This is not a choice between GPS and a new wireless broadband competitor, LightSquared said, adding that its testing shows its solution resolves interference for about 99.5 percent of all commercial GPS devices -- including 100 percent of the 300 million GPS-enabled cell phones.
LightSquared also charged that the GPS makers' answer to "a problem of their own making" is to block LightSquared from using its own spectrum to create the network. The problem could have been avoided, the company said, if GPS makers had equipped their devices with filters costing as little as a nickel each.
This issue, said LightSquared Chairman and CEO Sanjiv Ahuja, "will be resolved by good data, smart engineers, and good-faith problem-solving dialog."
A GPS industry group -- the Coalition To Save Our GPS -- said in a statement that if LightSquared's application to change the relevant spectrum use is approved, "widespread, severe GPS jamming will occur."
Using Growth Band
The coalition added that tests by GPS device maker Garmin, using the technical specs of the LightSquared system, found two common state-of-the-art Garmin GPS receivers experienced significant jamming if it was within a few miles of a simulated LightSquared transmitter.
The coalition charged that LightSquared's application indicates it plans to "fundamentally change" the nature of the 1525-MHz to 1559-MHz band from a mobile space-to-Earth band with weak signals to a noisy terrestrial band of powerful signals.
Bill Ho, an analyst with industry research firm Current Analysis, said LightSquared's "play is similar to Clearwire's," in that it would be providing a wholesale broadband wireless network.
But, he pointed out, in addition to the huge difficulties and costs of doing that, LightSquared now has to overcome this interference issue. Ho said its solution -- which is to use the lower part of its assigned spectrum -- poses a problem to LightSquared's overall business plan, since those frequencies were supposed to be its area for growth.
Posted: 2011-07-06 @ 10:08am PT
All statements from LightSquared come from their high-priced lawyers, who have no technical background. Are you going to trust a lawyer that does not have your best interests in mind?
The CEO can say whatever he wants about future receivers, but there are hundreds of millions of receivers in the field that LightSquared will jam.
If LightSquared and their lawyers had their way, every built-in car navigation system would have to be replaced - at the owners expense!