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Blow to LightSquared as Government Agency Says GPS Interference Cannot be Solved

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Note -- this news article is more than a year old.

The USA based wholesale LTE network operator, LightSquared has been dealt a serious blow in its dispute over interference with GPS receivers. A letter sent to the USA's Department of Commerce by the National Space Based Positioning, Navigation and Timing Executive Committee (PNT ExComm) has warned that it cannot see any viable solution to the problem.

PNT ExComm said in its memo that the nine federal agencies that comprise its Advisory Board had concluded unanimously that none of LightSquared's proposals would overcome GPS receiver interference.

LightSquared has long argued that the problems stem from the receiver manufacturers using unauthorised spectrum, and it has proposed various solutions, ranging from modifying its own spectrum use to adaptors for the affected receivers.

The network secured a launch waver from the telecoms regulator last year, but only if it could overcome the GPS interference issues.

However, the PNT ExComm also now adds that it is concerned that the LightSquared network could also cause problems with aircraft safety systems.

"Based upon this testing and analysis, there appear to be no practical solutions or mitigations that would permit the LightSquared broadband service, as proposed, to operate in the next few months or years without significantly interfering with GPS. As a result, no additional testing is warranted at this time," the memo said.

Responding to the memo, LightSquared's primary financial backer, Harbinger Capital said "We are confident that the tests, when the protocol is disclosed and the details are examined, will be shown to be invalid. The devices chosen by GPS manufacturers to be tested were selected to ensure failure. They included obsolete GPS receivers (some a decade out of production) and niche-market receivers."

The financial firm added that "This is nothing more than a thinly-veiled attempt by government agencies to protect the interests of the GPS industry who are unauthorized users infringing on spectrum licensed to LightSquared."

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Tags: lightsquared  gps  USA